Hamas fighters released twenty-four hostages, as confirmed by the International Red Cross, on the first day of a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. Among the freed individuals were Israeli women and children, as well as Thai farm workers.
The International Red Cross initiated an operation to facilitate the transfer of these hostages from Gaza to Israel, reciprocating for Palestinians held in Israeli jails. The operation successfully resulted in the release of the twenty-four hostages in Gaza.
We are relieved to confirm the safe release of 24 hostages.
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.
— ICRC in Israel & OT (@ICRC_ilot) November 24, 2023
As the agency wrote on X, “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.”
Fabrizio Carboni, the Regional Director for the Near and Middle East at the International Committee of the Red Cross, acknowledged the deep pain experienced by family members separated from their loved ones, Reuters reports. He also expressed relief that some would be reunited after enduring prolonged agony.
Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Majed Al-Ansari, provided details on the nationalities of the twenty-four released hostages, including thirteen Israelis, ten Thai citizens, and one Filipino.
— Erez Neumark 🇮🇱🇧🇪 (@ErezNeumark) November 24, 2023
Israeli Media’s Reports on the Numbers of Released Hostages
Reports from Israeli media suggested that thirteen women and children were handed over to the Red Cross and an Egyptian security team. However, both the Israeli government and Hamas did not immediately confirm this information, according to Reuters.
Additionally, a separate group of Thai workers, who were initially taken hostage during an October 7th attack on Israel, were also freed. The release of these Thai citizens followed a separate track of talks mediated by Egypt and Qatar, unrelated to the truce negotiations.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced that the released hostages are now in Israel. In a statement, the IDF mentioned that the hostages have undergone an initial medical assessment, CNN reported.
Terms of Hamas-Israel’s Military Truce
Under the terms of the four-day Israel-Hamas truce, fifty women and children hostages are reportedly set to be released over the next four days. In exchange, one hundred and fifty Palestinian women and children who were detained in Israeli jails will also be freed. Israel has indicated that the truce may be extended if hostages continue to be released at a rate of ten per day.
The cessation of combat between Israeli troops and Hamas fighters marked the first time in seven weeks that no significant bombings, artillery strikes, or rocket attacks were reported. However, both parties accused each other of sporadic shootings and other violations, emphasizing that hostilities would resume at full throttle once the truce concluded.