Hamas Releases 24 Hostages From Gaza After Truce Comes Into Effect
LAHORE MIRROR — The Palestinian armed group Hamas has released 24 hostages held captive by the group in Gaza for almost seven weeks, according to Qatar’s foreign ministry and the International Red Cross (ICRC), hours after an Israel-Hamas truce mediated by Qatar came into effect.
Among the captives released were 13 Israelis, 10 Thai nationals, and one Filipino citizen, Majed al-Ansari, a spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry in Qatar, said on Friday. The ICRC in Israel and the occupied territories said that it transported the group of captives from Gaza to the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.
“We are relieved to confirm the safe release of 24 hostages,” the ICRC wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
“We have facilitated this release by transporting them from Gaza to the Rafah border, marking the real-life impact of our role as a neutral intermediary between the parties.”
The release of the 24 captives — out of the roughly 240 taken hostage by Hamas during an assault on southern Israel on October 7 — comes after a deal between Israel and Hamas, which includes a four-day truce and exchange of captives for Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, took effect.
The Israelis hostages were back in Israeli territory where they would undergo medical checks before being reunited with their families, the army said.
They included four children and six elderly women, a list issued by the Israeli prime minister’s office showed.
“Our citizens underwent an initial medical examination and their families were informed by the appointed officials that they were back,” the statement reads.
In a video recording, Netanyahu also said that his government is committed to the return of all remaining hostages.
Qatar said 39 Palestinian women and children detained in Israeli jails were released as part of the deal.
Israeli forces fired tear gas at a crowd gathered outside Ofer prison in the occupied West Bank who had gathered for the release of the prisoners.
The ICRC confirmed on Friday that its teams were facilitating the release and transfer of hostages held in Gaza and of Palestinian detainees.
“The deep pain that family members separated from their loved ones feel is indescribable. We are relieved that some will be reunited after long agony,” said Fabrizio Carboni, the International Committee of the Red Cross’s regional director for the Near and Middle East.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES