After a delay, the second hostages-for-prisoners exchange is carried out.

After a delay, the second hostages-for-prisoners exchange is carried out.

Hamas released a second group of Israeli and foreign hostages on Saturday night in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners, the Israeli authorities said Sunday morning, after an hourslong delay raised fears that a fragile truce in Gaza could collapse altogether.

Qatar, which helped broker the deal alongside Egypt, said that two mediators had managed to overcome an impasse between Israel and Hamas.

In the end, Israel confirmed that Hamas had handed 13 Israelis — eight children and five women — to the International Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza. They were taken in a convoy across the Rafah crossing to Egypt, then transported to Israel, where they were delivered to hospitals, the Israeli authorities said. Four Thai nationals were also released.

Within hours, 39 Palestinian prisoners were released by Israel, Israel’s prison service said early on Sunday. There was a similar swap on Friday.

The prisoners affairs commission of the Palestinian Authority confirmed that Red Cross buses with detainees had left Ofer prison, outside the West Bank city of Ramallah, to take them to Al-Bireh Municipality.

The resumption of the deal late Saturday came after a tense day in which it appeared the fragile temporary cease-fire agreement might crumble.

Hamas had threatened to postpone the second hostages-for-prisoners trade, claiming Israel had reneged on parts of the agreement. The armed group, which controls Gaza, said Israel had not allowed enough aid to reach northern Gaza and had not released Palestinian prisoners according to agreed-upon terms.

In a news briefing in Lebanon Saturday evening, a Hamas official, Osama Hamdan, accused Israel of “playing with the names” of prisoners to be released, and criticized Israeli soldiers for allegedly shooting at Gazan residents who tried to return to their homes in northern Gaza on Friday. The group did not go into more details.

The agreement has never been published, making such claims hard to verify.

Israel denied it had broken the terms of the deal and hinted that the four-day cease-fire would end early if Hamas did not release a second group of hostages. Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, a spokesman for the Israeli military, said, “We are standing by our part of the framework.”

Then, on Saturday night, Hamas abruptly announced on its official Telegram channel that it would move forward with the release of the hostages after Qatar and Egypt passed along Israel’s commitment “to all the conditions detailed in the agreement.”

President Biden, who was briefed Saturday morning on the state of the hostage deal, spoke directly with the emir of Qatar and the Qatari prime minister on potential holdups to the deal and mechanisms to resolve them, said Adrienne Watson, spokeswoman for the National Security Council.

The brief truce — which took effect at 7 a.m. local time on Friday — is already the longest pause in a 50-day conflict that began on Oct. 7, when a Hamas-led assault on southern Israel killed an estimated 1,200 people and led to the abduction of roughly 240 people, Israeli officials said.

As part of the agreement, Hamas agreed to release at least 50 Israeli women and children held hostage in Gaza over the four-day pause, while Israel would free 150 Palestinian women and minors in its prisons, officials on both sides have said. On Friday, in addition to the 13 Israeli hostages freed by Hamas, Israel released 39 Palestinian prisoners. Ten Thai nationals and one Filipino were also freed.

Though neither side has released the full terms of the deal, both have said that it involves not only the exchange of captives, but also the delivery of more aid to Gaza, where the war has caused severe fuel and food shortages.

The aid was expected to reach both southern Gaza, which Hamas still controls, and northern Gaza, which has been largely captured by Israel and where the remaining Hamas fighters are under considerable pressure.

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