TEL AVIV, Israel—The Israeli military says 11 hostages have been released from Hamas captivity in the Gaza Strip and returned to Israeli territory.
Military officials said late Monday that the hostages were on Israeli soil and undergoing initial medical checks before being reunited with their families.
Eleven Israeli women and children, freed by Hamas terrorists, entered Israel Monday night after more than seven weeks in captivity in Gaza in the fourth swap under the original four-day truce, which began Friday and was due to run out. Thirty-three Palestinian prisoners released by Israel arrived early Tuesday in east Jerusalem and the West Bank town of Ramallah.
Israeli media said the hostages included two women and nine children. Two of the children are 3 years old.
The cease-fire had been set to expire early Tuesday. But Qatar, which has been mediating between the sides, said they agreed to extend the truce by two more days.
Israel has said it would extend the cease-fire by one day for every 10 additional hostages released. After the announcement by Qatar—a key mediator in the conflict, along with the United States and Egypt—the Hamas terrorist group confirmed it had agreed to a two-day extension “under the same terms.”
But Israel says it remains committed to crushing Hamas’s military capabilities and ending its 16-year rule over Gaza after its Oct. 7 attack into southern Israel. That would likely mean expanding a ground offensive from northern Gaza to the south.
Monday’s releases bring to 50 the number of Israelis freed under the truce, along with 19 hostages of other nationalities. So far, 150 Palestinians have been released from Israeli prisons.
The war broke out Oct. 7 when Hamas terrorists burst across the border into Israel, killing some 1,200 people and taking 240 others captive. Israel declared war, and over 13,000 Palestinians have been killed in weeks of Israeli strikes, according to health authorities in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.