30 Palestinians released from Israeli custody

Gaza – On Thursday, the Israeli prison service announced the release of 30 Palestinians from detention facilities in Damon, Megiddo, Ofer, Nafha, Ktzi’ot, and Ramon. This move is in accordance with the Israel-Hamas truce, where Israel is obligated to release three Palestinians for every Israeli hostage set free.

Following prolonged negotiations on extending the truce to a seventh day, the Israeli government eventually accepted a proposal for Hamas to release eight new Israeli hostages on Thursday. Notably, Israel agreed to include the two Israeli-Russian hostages freed on Wednesday as part of Thursday’s release, as confirmed by multiple sources familiar with the discussions, as reported by CNN.

Majed Al-Ansari, the spokesperson for the Qatari foreign ministry, emphasized the terms of the truce extension on Thursday. According to Al-Ansari, Israel is committed to releasing 30 Palestinians from its prisons in exchange for the liberation of 10 hostages in Gaza. Importantly, the two Israeli-Russian nationals released on Wednesday are included in the tally of hostages as part of the agreement.

Israel was aware of Hamas’ attack plan

The New York Times reported that Israeli officials had acquired a document outlining Hamas’ battle strategy for a terror attack on October 7, more than a year before the actual assault occurred. This document, spanning about 40 pages, detailed the type of deadly incursion Hamas later executed within Israeli territory. Although the document did not specify the attack’s date, it meticulously described the assault tactics.

Despite possessing this information, Israeli military and intelligence officials dismissed the feasibility of Hamas carrying out such a complex plan. Codenamed “Jericho Wall” by Israeli authorities, the document outlined an assault meant to breach fortifications around the Gaza Strip, seize control of Israeli cities, and target crucial military bases. Remarkably, the attack that unfolded on October 7 mirrored the plan described in the document, as highlighted by the Times.

During this assault, Hamas militants launched a coordinated attack from Gaza, resulting in the capture of over 200 hostages and approximately 1,200 casualties—the most substantial attack on Israel since its establishment in 1948.

The intelligence failure on Israel’s part was widely acknowledged following the attack, prompting several high-ranking defense and security officials to take partial responsibility for the missteps that allowed the incident to occur. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced public criticism after initially blaming security chiefs, a statement he later retracted in a deleted social media post.

Netanyahu claimed that contrary to his accusation, all defense officials had assessed that Hamas was deterred. However, it remains uncertain whether Netanyahu or other senior political leaders were privy to the “Jericho Wall” document, which had been disseminated extensively among Israeli military and intelligence leadership, as per the Times’ report.

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