Ursula von der Leyen
Ursula von der LeyenReuters

Following the Hamas attack on southern Israel on October 7th, in which around 240 Israelis were taken hostage, Israel and Hamas, by means of several intermediaries, reached an agreement for the release of 50 of these hostages, after various compromises on Israel's side.

President von der Leyen announced: "I wholeheartedly welcome the agreement reached on the release of the 50 hostages and on a pause in hostilities."

"Every day these mothers and children are held hostage by terrorists is one too many. I share the joy of the families who can soon embrace their loved ones again. And I am so grateful to all those who have worked tirelessly through diplomatic channels in recent weeks to broker this agreement.

"I call on the terrorist Hamas to immediately release all hostages and allow them to return home safely."

She added that the "European Commission will do its utmost to use this pause for a humanitarian surge to Gaza. I have asked the Commissioner Janez Lenarčič to upscale further shipments to Gaza as quickly as possible to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza."