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Hamas frees 24 hostages from Gaza on first day of truce

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Hamas fighters released 24 hostages on Friday during the first day of the war’s first truce, including Israeli women and children and Thai farm workers, after guns fell silent across the Gaza Strip for the first time in seven weeks.

The hostages were transferred out of Gaza and handed over to Egyptian authorities at the Rafah border crossing, accompanied by eight staff members of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in a four-car convoy, the ICRC said.

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Qatar, which acted as mediator for the truce deal, said 13 Israelis had been released, some with dual nationalities, plus 10 Thais and a Filipino. Thirty-nine Palestinian women and children detainees were released from Israeli jails.

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“We have just completed the return of the first batch of our hostages. Children, their mothers and other women. Each and every one of them is a world in itself,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “But I stress to you, the families, and to you, citizens of Israel: We are committed to returning all our hostages.”

The names of the Israeli hostages were released after they were freed. They included four children accompanied by four family members, and five other elderly women.

Corinne Moshe, daughter-in-law of 72-year-old Adina Moshe, said her husband and his siblings were waiting at a hospital to be reunited with their mother. “I miss her very, very much, I want her to be back already. I want to have dinner with her and the entire family again,” she said. “Grandmother is a strong woman. She raised almost all the children of Kibbutz Nir Oz.”

(Reuters)

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