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30 Palestinian prisoners released in latest exchange

JERUSALEM (AFP)Thirty Palestinian prisoners were freed overnight Thursday, the Israeli prison authorities said, in the latest exchange under an extended truce deal due to expire within hours.

The prisoners — including 23 minors and seven women — were released hours after eight Israeli hostages were freed by the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

A newly released prisoner gestures amid supporters holding phones during a welcome ceremony following the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails in exchange for Israeli hostages held in Gaza by Hamas since the October 7 attacks, in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank early on December 1, 2023. PHOTO: AFP

The truce agreement between Hamas and Israel stipulates that a minimum of 10 Israeli hostages should be released alive each day.

But a source close to Hamas told AFP that two Russian-Israeli women freed on Wednesday in addition to 10 others made up for only eight Israelis being released on Thursday.

Mediator Qatar appeared to back the calculation.

Since it came into force on November 24, the truce agreement has resulted in the freeing of 110 hostages, including 80 Israelis.

The majority of the 30 non-Israeli hostages freed were from Thailand, released under a separate agreement.

Israel has freed 240 Palestinian prisoners in exchange.