Israel has received a list with the names of 10 hostages set to be released by the Hamas terror group on Wednesday and has updated the hostages’ families, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) stated.
Hamas also announced it will release an additional two female hostages with dual Russian-Israeli citizenship on Wednesday in response to a request by Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to senior Hamas official Musa Abu-Marzuk.
The release of these two hostages is not part of the current agreement with Israel.
So far 81 hostages – 61 Israelis and 20 foreign nationals – have been released from Hamas captivity during the first five rounds of exchanges.
As the deal is set to end with the release of this sixth group of hostages on Wednesday, Hamas, Israel, and the mediating parties are discussing a continuation of the agreement and possible future deals, with Israel seeking to include not just women and children from the list of hostages to be freed, but also men and possibly soldiers.
Hamas told the mediators it would be ready to extend the current deal for another four days, AFP reported on Wednesday morning.
On Tuesday, a high-level meeting took place in Qatar to discuss a second extension to the original four-day deal, which has now stretched to a sixth day.
Israel's Mossad Director David Barnea, CIA director William Burns, Egyptian Intelligence Chief Abbas Kamel, and Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed Bin Abdul Rahman al-Thani took part in the meeting.
The current discussion revolves around extending the agreement under the same terms for as long as possible, according to the Axios media outlet. The Israeli government sanctioned the current agreement for a maximum period of 10 days and would have to greenlight any further extensions.
Israel won’t agree to discuss any new terms until the current deal is fully implemented, according to Axios, meaning that all women and children held in the Gaza Strip would have to be released.
“It might be possible to reach separate agreements around other groups of hostages but Israel made clear it can only happen after the current deal is fully implemented and all women and children are released,” an Israeli official told Axios.
Israeli officials are now also discussing creative ideas for further deals, local Channel 12 news reported.
These might include further categories of hostages beyond the women and children who were released until now. Subcategories could include not just men, but specifically the husbands and fathers of the family members who were already released by Hamas.
The Washington Post reported that five categories have already been agreed upon, which are men who are too old for reserve duty, male reservists, active soldiers, female soldiers, and the bodies of Israelis who were murdered on Oct. 7 or have died since.
Each of the categories is expected to have its own "price" corresponding to demands by Hamas.
Another idea that garnered some media attention over the last few days will be rejected outright, however: The offer to release every last hostage in exchange for all the Palestinian prisoners and an end to the war, according to Channel 12.
“We are not taking our eyes off the ball,” senior Israeli officials told Channel 12.
“The return of the hostages and the destruction of the military and governmental capabilities of Hamas are two parallel goals; one does not replace the other.”
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The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.