Maj. Doron Spielman, the international spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces, told Newsmax on Wednesday that Hamas requested certain individuals be released as part of the hostage-prisoner swaps that have been taking place between Israel and the Palestinian militant group under the cease-fire.
"There have been requests that were made up 'til now," Spielman said during an appearance on Newsmax's "The Record with Greta Van Susteren." "The prisoners that we've released have consisted of Palestinian women and young adults, teenage years.
"They've all been either convicted or placed under arrest for direct involvement with the terror organization or carrying out heinous acts. For instance, one of the women that we released she pulled out a knife and stabbed a mother in front of her two children."
"Unfortunately, we are sending these people back into the West Bank, where, by the way, they're welcomed, Greta, with Hamas flags and large parades," he continued. "This is the price that we're paying in order to bring our people home. But there's no comparison between the Israeli innocent hostages and these convicted criminals and people that are associated with terrorist regimes."
On Wednesday, Hamas released 16 hostages in the last exchange for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel under the current Gaza truce. International mediators raced to secure another extension of the cease-fire to allow for further swaps and delay the continuation of Israel's air and ground offensive.
A group of 10 Israeli women and children and four Thai citizens had been freed by Hamas and left the Gaza Strip, the IDF said. In a separate, earlier release, two Russian-Israeli women were freed by the terror group. Thirty Palestinian prisoners were set to be released by Israel in return for the release of the hostages.
Negotiators were reportedly working to beat the clock for a further extension of the cease-fire beyond its expiration of early Thursday. With most of the women and children held by Hamas now freed, the talks seem to be getting more difficult and the militants are expected to seek greater concessions in return for freeing men and soldiers.
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Nicole Wells ✉
Nicole Wells, a Newsmax general assignment reporter covers news, politics, and culture. She is a National Newspaper Association award-winning journalist.
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