DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — The tense cease-fire between Israel and Hamas appeared to be back on track early Sunday after the release of a second group of militant-held hostages and Palestinians from Israeli prisons, but the swap followed an hourslong delay that underscored the truce's fragility.
In a separate development, Hamas announced Sunday that one of its top commanders had been killed, without saying when or how.
The exchange was delayed Saturday evening after Hamas accused Israel of violating the agreement, which has brought the first significant pause in seven weeks of war marked by the deadliest Israeli-Palestinian violence in decades, vast destruction and displacement across the Gaza Strip, and a hostage crisis that has shaken Israel.
Qatar and Egypt, which mediate with Hamas, announced late Saturday that the obstacles to the exchange had been overcome. The militants released 13 Israelis and four Thais, while Israel freed 39 Palestinian prisoners.
Thousands of people gathered in central Tel Aviv late Saturday to call for the release of those still held by Hamas and other militant groups, which seized some 240 people during the Oct. 7 rampage across southern Israel that ignited the war. Forty-four have been released, one was freed by Israeli forces and two were found dead inside Gaza.
The protesters also accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of not doing enough to bring them back. Pressure from the…