Hamas To Free More Hostages Today In Israel-Gaza Truce Deal

Israel then released 39 women and children from prison.

Palestinian Territories:

Hamas fighters plan to release new hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners on Saturday, officials said, offering hope to families suffering from a seven-week war that has left thousands dead.

Qatar, the main mediator, is expected to announce the number of prisoners and hostages to be released later on Saturday, the second exchange since a four-day cease-fire took effect on Friday and gunfire on both sides has largely subsided. becomes.

Israeli authorities said they had received a list of hostages to be released, but did not say how many or exactly when.

Hamas released 24 hostages on Friday, the first day of the ceasefire, according to the official list of main mediators Qatar and Israel. The participants were 13 Israelis, all women and children, including dual nationals, 10 from Thailand and one from the Philippines.

A two-minute video released by Hamas showed masked militants wearing military uniforms, green headbands and carrying rifles handing over the hostages to Red Cross personnel.

Israel then released 39 women and children from prison.

“It’s just the beginning, but so far it’s going well,” US President Joe Biden told reporters in Massachusetts, where he was spending the Thanksgiving holiday.

“I think there is a real possibility” of extending the ceasefire, he said.

Biden also urged broader efforts to emerge from the crisis with a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Israeli military spokesman Doron Shpilman said about 215 hostages remained in Gaza.

He said, “In many of these cases, we don’t know if the person is alive or dead.We are working hard to gather information.”

Hamas fighters took prisoners and killed about 1,200 people when they breached Gaza’s military demarcation line with Israel on October 7, according to Israeli statistics.

Israel launched an air, artillery and naval offensive to crush Hamas in response to the deadliest attack in its history, leaving about 15,000 people dead, according to the Hamas government in Gaza.

Hamas is expected to release 50 hostages in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners during the ceasefire, part of an agreement reached after talks involving Israel, Palestinian militants, Qatar, Egypt and the United States. .

– “Horrible trauma” –

In Tel Aviv, the smiling faces of freed hostages and the words “I’m home” were projected on the walls of a museum.

Near a hospital in the Tel Aviv suburb of Petah Tikva, people raised Israeli flags and applauded as helicopters flew over with freed prisoners.

“I am determined to help my family recover from the terrible trauma and loss they have experienced,” he said after his wife Delon and two daughters, ages 2 and 4, were held hostage in Gaza for 49 days. said Yoni Asher, who was released.

“We are allowed to feel joy and we are allowed to cry,” Asher said in a video released by the Hostage Families Forum.

Of the freed hostages, four children and four women were admitted to Schneider Children’s Medical Center.

The hospital’s chief executive officer, Efrat Bron Hareb, said they were in “good health” and would undergo medical and psychological tests.

The Thai government said it estimated an additional 20 nationals were still held by Hamas. “We sincerely hope that the remaining hostages will be treated humanely,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Palestinians welcomed the return of prisoners from Israeli prisons.

Of the 39 prisoners released by Israel on Friday, 28 were released in the occupied West Bank, according to the Palestinian Prisoners of War Club, while the remaining 11 were taken to annexed East Jerusalem, an AFP correspondent reported. Ta.

Crowds of Palestinians in the West Bank set off firecrackers, waved flags and whistled as two white buses carried prisoners out of Ofer’s military camp, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

“I spent my childhood and the end of my youth in prison, far from my parents and their embrace,” freed prisoner Mara Bakir, 24, told AFP after returning to her home in annexed East Jerusalem. told.

“That’s the kind of country that oppresses us.”

Early in the evening, Israeli authorities fired tear gas to disperse the crowd. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said three people were shot and wounded by Israeli security forces.

Fatina Salman, whose daughter Malak, now 23, was among those released, said: “The police are in our house and are preventing people from coming to see us.”

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to bring all Hamas hostages home.

“This is one of the goals of the war, and we are fully committed to achieving all the goals of the war,” he said.

– Humanitarian Convoy –

The pause in fighting in Gaza has paved the way for much-needed aid.

A total of 200 aid trucks passed through, according to Israeli Defense Ministry officials in charge of Palestinian internal affairs. It is said to be the largest humanitarian convoy to enter the besieged area since the start of the war.

Jens Rahlke, a spokesman for the U.N. humanitarian agency OCHA, expressed hope that the suspension would lead to a “long-term humanitarian ceasefire.”

Gazans are struggling to survive due to lack of water and other necessities.

The ceasefire also sparked a mass movement of thousands of people who had taken refuge in schools and hospitals from Israel’s relentless shelling.

The United Nations estimates that 1.7 million of Gaza’s population of 2.4 million have been displaced by the fighting.

In Khan Yunis, in southern Gaza, where many Palestinians have fled, the sounds of war were replaced by a cacophony of car horns and ambulance sirens.

People piled their belongings into wheelbarrows, tied them to the roofs of cars and slung bags over their shoulders as they flocked to the streets to return home from temporary shelters.

Israeli warplanes have dropped leaflets warning people that the war is not over yet and that it is “extremely dangerous” to return to the north, the center of Israel’s military operations.

Nevertheless, thousands of Palestinians attempted to move north on Friday, the United Nations humanitarian agency said.

~Careful preparation~

Ziv Agmon, a legal adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, told reporters that Israeli soldiers were well prepared to take in women and children who may have been seriously injured.

He added that the former prisoners would be able to call their families after medical examinations and before being reunited at Israeli medical facilities.

Hamas first released four women, and Israeli forces rescued another. Two other prisoners of war, including a female soldier, were found dead in Gaza by Israeli forces.

Maayan Jin, whose daughters Ella and Dafna, ages 8 and 15, are also held hostage, posted on social media platform X that she had been informed that their names were not on the list of those scheduled for release.

“This is incredibly difficult for me. I long for their return,” she wrote.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)