Activist Tamimi among Palestinians freed by Israel in Gaza truce swap - GulfToday

Activist Tamimi among Palestinians freed by Israel in Gaza truce swap


Ahed Tamimi reacts after being released amid a hostages-prisoners swap deal between Hamas and Israel, in Ramallah, on Thursday. Reuters

Hamas released two more Israeli women hostages on Thursday with more Palestinian prisoners to be freed under an extended truce that has paused weeks of deadly conflict.

Prominent Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi was among 30 prisoners freed by Israel under a temporary Gaza truce between Israel and Hamas, according to Israeli and Palestinian officials.

Israeli troops earlier this month arrested Tamimi, regarded in the occupied West Bank as a hero since she was a teenager, on suspicion of inciting violence. Her mother has denied the allegation and said it was based on a fake social media post.

The Israel Prison Service posted a list of Palestinians released on Thursday morning to its website that included Tamimi. A Palestinian official said she was released after being jailed in Damon Prison, near the Israeli city of Haifa.

With the current truce set to expire early on Friday, international bodies have called for a lasting halt to the violence, sparked by deadly Hamas attacks on Israel that prompted it to mount a devastating assault on the Gaza Strip.

The latest extended truce had been due to end at 0500 GMT Thursday, but the Israeli army said the “operational pause” would continue as international mediators negotiate the release of hostages held by Hamas.

Qatar, which has led the truce negotiations supported by Egypt and the United States, confirmed the pause had been extended for one day “under the same previous conditions”.

The delicate truce held through its seventh day after a 24-hour extension despite a shooting claimed by Hamas that killed three people in Jerusalem.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to seek a longer pause that would allow further prisoner-hostage exchanges and more aid for displaced civilians in Gaza.

The Israeli military said on Thursday at least two women hostages had been returned from Gaza after being released to the Red Cross by Hamas.

More were expected to be transferred “in the next few hours,” it said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office named the two as French-Israeli dual national Mia Shem, 21, and Amit Soussana, 40.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday welcomed the release by Hamas of French-Israeli hostage Mia Shem, while saying his country was working towards the liberation of all remaining hostages in Gaza.

The release of Shem, 21, was “a great joy that I share with her family and all French people”, Macron said on X, formerly Twitter.

Israel is due to release more Palestinian prisoners in turn, after the sides agreed to extend the pause in combat operations until Friday morning.

Tamimi, 22, rose to prominence in 2017 when, at age 16, she slapped an Israeli soldier who raided her West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. She and others have for years protested Israeli land seizures in the area.

After slapping the soldier, Tamimi was sentenced to eight months in prison upon pleading guilty to reduced charges that included assault.


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