Six Argentine nationals who had been held hostage by Hamas were among those released on Monday, according to a Foreign Ministry communiqué. They are the first of at least 20 Argentines being held in the Gaza Strip to leave.
The released Argentines are part of the list of citizens that Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero had given to Qatar authorities — Monday’s communiqué “highlighted the state’s efforts in the relevant negotiations to achieve a truce between Israel and Hamas.”
Government sources told the Herald that those released were three adult women and three minors. They include Karina Engelbert (50) and her two daughters Mika and Yuval Angel, aged 18 and 10 respectively. Yuval could be seen in a wheelchair with a leg cast — the Foreign Ministry could not confirm the injury to the Herald.
Sharon Cuño and her two daughters, Julie and Emma, both three years old, were also released.
The girls’ respective fathers are still being held hostage.
“Argentina hopes that it will be possible to achieve the unconditional and immediate release of all the hostages still held in the Gaza Strip, irrespective of nationality, including the Argentines who remain captive,” said Cafiero on X (formerly Twitter).
Qatar’s Official Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr. Majed Al Ansari posted on X that 11 hostages were released in total, with three French and two German citizens released alongside the Argentines.
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Last week, Hamas and Israel reached a four-day ceasefire which included hostage-prisoner swaps: this is the first time any of the Argentine nationals being held hostage have been released. Nine have died since the war started, the Argentine Foreign Ministry told the Herald.
Israel and Hamas also reached a deal to extend the temporary truce for another two days on Monday. Israel launched its assault on Gaza after Hamas fighters burst across the border fence into southern Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people and seizing about 240 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.
Since then, Israel has rained bombs on the Hamas-ruled enclave, killing some 14,000 Gazans, around 40% of them children, according to Palestinian health authorities.
Hundreds of thousands of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have fled their homes to escape the violence, including most people in the northern half of Gaza including Gaza City, which Israel ordered evacuated and has pulverized in its ground assault.
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