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Release of Freedom: Uncovering the Hostages Locked in the Israel-Hamas Agreement

The recent Israel-Hamas agreement ended 11 days of conflict in which hundreds of people lost their lives and many more were injured. While media attention has mainly focused on the ceasefire reached between the two sides, it is also important to recognize the hundreds of Palestinians who were released as part of the deal.

The exchange of prisoners is a significant part of peace agreements between antagonists since the time of the Bible, and over the centuries, bilateral exchanges of captives have become an integral part of negotiations. The recent Israel-Hamas agreement follows a long history of prisoner exchanges and marks a major milestone in the peace process.

The deal included Hamas releasing the remains of two Israeli soldiers who were killed in 2014 and Israel’s release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. The list of prisoners released so far as part of the deal includes 107 male prisoners, 11 female prisoners, and three paramedic students who were on their way home from Gaza to the West Bank.

Among the released prisoners were Ahed al-Agha, a prominent political prisoner who had been serving a life sentence for his role in a 1993 killing, and Issa Abed Rabbo, a 79-year-old who had been imprisoned for 33 years after he was convicted of “conspiring to commit a hostile act” against Israeli soldiers.

Other notable prisoners released were Mohammed al-Halabi, who had been sentenced for passing funds from Qatar to Hamas, and Ahmad al-Titi, who was arrested for his involvement in the 2014 kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers, which triggered the 50-day war between Hamas and Israel.

While the full list of prisoners to be released has not yet been made public, it is clear that a significant number of Palestinians are being released as part of the Israel-Hamas agreement. This is a major step in the peace process, and it is one that should be celebrated.

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