Hamas says 3 bodies of hostage to be returned today; floats freeing civilian men next

Gianluca Pacchiani is the Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Hamas official Basem Naim tells the London-based, Qatari-owned channel Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that under the terms of today’s extension of the truce for a seventh day, Hamas will hand over the bodies of three Israelis.

Naim claims that the three, whose identity is still unknown, were killed during Israel’s military operation in Gaza.

He adds that the terror group is willing to negotiate the release of Israeli civilian men if the truce is extended and a new, comprehensive deal is reached.

Eight hostages are slated to be released by the terror group today, after negotiations went on until just before the 7 a.m. deadline to restart fighting.

As part of the agreement, Hamas is supposed to release at least 10 hostages for every extra day of the lull in fighting. Israel in turn will also release 30 Palestinian prisoners for every 10 hostages.

Hebrew media has reported that two Russian-Israelis who were already freed last night in a side deal with Moscow will count toward today’s tally of 10 living hostages.

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