Hamas has released thirteen Israeli hostages in the Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian reports. Eleven other hostages were also released as part of a cease-fire deal between Israel and the militant group.
The hostages were being held captive in the Gaza Strip since the start of the conflict between the two sides in 2014. The prisoners were reportedly released in exchange for a mass prisoner exchange.
The identities of the prisoners released have not yet been confirmed, but it is believed that they include Palestinian prisoners, as well as Israeli citizens who had been held captive in Gaza since the start of the conflict.
The release of the hostages is being seen as a sign of trust between the two sides, and a step towards calming the tensions between the two sides. Hamas has also agreed to an indefinite ceasefire with Israel, thereby bringing an end to the latest flare-up in violence.
It remains to be seen what the long-term effects of the hostage release and cease-fire are, and whether the conflict can finally be brought to an end. Nevertheless, the release of the hostages is a positive sign that both sides are willing to negotiate and reach a lasting peace.