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Israel and Hamas are expected to go through a third round of hostage-prisoner swap on Sunday amid a fragile truce in the fighting in the Gaza Strip.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has received a list of the names of the hostages set to be freed and has informed the families, Israeli media reported on Sunday. According to Haaretz, at least one of the hostages expected to be released is Russian and part of a deal between Hamas and Moscow.

The exchanges are part of a four-day truce agreement brokered by Qatar, Egypt and the U.S. that started on Friday. Overall, Hamas is set to free 50 hostages in exchange for Israel releasing 150 Palestinian prisoners.

On October 7, Hamas’ armed wing led an attack on Israel, killing 1,200 people and kidnapping about 240 more. In retaliation, the Israeli armed forces relentlessly bombarded the Gaza Strip and launched a ground operation, leveling entire neighborhoods and killing over 14,000 Palestinians. About 1.7 million Gazans have been displaced, according to the United Nations.

Since the truce started, Hamas has released 41 hostages in exchange for 78 Palestinians held in Israeli jails, according to Agence France-Presse.

On Saturday, the second round of hostage exchange was delayed by several hours after Hamas accused Israel of not respecting the truce agreement by not allowing enough humanitarian aid trucks to reach the besieged northern Gaza region. Israel said the delay was due to Hamas losing control in the northern Gaza Strip.

Eventually, 13 Israelis and four Thai were let go in exchange for 39 Palestinian prisoners late Saturday.

Uncertainty still remains around the third round of exchanges. Pascal Hundt, a senior Red Cross official, told Sky News on Sunday he was “not confident” that more hostages would actually be freed. The Red Cross then issued a clarification, saying the statement was “in no way an indication” that the exchange was doomed, Haaretz reported.

Also on Sunday, the Palestinian Red Crescent announced that a Palestinian farmer was killed by Israeli forces in Gaza’s Maghazi refugee camp, while the Palestinian Authority said eight Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank in 24 hours.

Hamas announced that senior commander Ahmed al-Ghandour, who was in charge of northern Gaza, died in the war, Al Jazeera reported.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to travel to Israel this week.


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By David

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