| 5 March 2024, Tuesday |

Israeli hostage handover is under way in Gaza, Palestinian official says

On Wednesday, the last day of a two-day extension of a truce in the Gaza war, a Palestinian official familiar with the truce talks told Reuters that Hamas is in the process of handing over more Israeli hostages in Gaza.

An ally of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, announced earlier that it had released a number of civilian hostages as part of an exchange agreement that also included the release of Palestinian inmates detained in Israeli jails.

Gaza’s Hamas rulers were expected to free at least 10 hostages on Wednesday under the terms of the truce agreement.

The reported handover was overshadowed by an unconfirmed claim by Hamas, the largest militant group in Gaza, that a family of Israeli hostages, including the youngest hostage, baby Kfir Bibas, had been killed during earlier Israeli bombardment.

Israeli officials said they were checking the Hamas report about the Bibas family, a very sensitive issue in Israel where the family is among the most high-profile hostages yet to be freed.

Relatives of the Bibas family said they had been informed of the Hamas report. “We are waiting for the information to be confirmed and hopefully refuted by military officials,” a statement from the Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum said.

  • Reuters