This week started on a hopeful note. The guns in the Middle East were silent, for the most part at least. And many people regained their freedom. Hamas released dozens of hostages captured in the Oct. 7 attack on Israel. In return, Israel released Palestinian prisoners from its prisons into the Gaza Strip.

According to the AFP news agency, a total of 80 people escaped from the hands of the Islamist terrorists during the ceasefire since Friday last week, including, according to the Foreign Office, 14 people who also have a German passport. Most of those released are women, children, young people and the elderly. Five of those abducted were released before the ceasefire began, and 25 others were released outside of the agreement. As part of the agreement, Israel released 240 Palestinian prisoners.

After the hostage deal between Hamas and Israel, which was brokered by Qatar, among others, and the Week of Silent Weapons, things continue as before – with war. And nothing has changed for numerous people in the grip of the terrorist group – they continue to be held in the Gaza Strip. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there were still female hostages among them, and there were probably 15 women and girls.

In total, the terrorists kidnapped around 240 people in the brutal attack on Israel at the beginning of October. There is no precise number, which is also because, according to information from the US government, not all of the hostages are probably in the hands of Hamas, but may have been kidnapped by other groups. The bottom line is that the Israeli government assumes that around 145 people are still being held in the Gaza Strip, most of them men. The mediator Qatar was also unable to provide any concrete information about this recently.

For those detained and their families and friends, the fear and suffering continues. The released hostages were not said to have been physically abused, as relatives reported according to various media. But there were days without food. Sometimes those abducted had to wait an hour and a half before they were allowed to use the toilet. Children were also threatened with weapons.

International efforts to release more hostages and achieve a renewed ceasefire continue.

Sources: news agencies DPA and AFP