israel ambulance
Israeli security forces stand next to ambulances waiting outside the helipad of Tel Aviv's Schneider medical centre on November 24, 2023, amid preparations for the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza in exchange for Palestinian prisoners later in the day. Image Credit: AFP

Deir Al Balah, Gaza Strip: The 13 Israeli hostages freed from Hamas captivity in the Gaza Strip have been returned to Israel where they were undergoing medical checks, the Israeli military said on Friday, at the end of the first day of a planned four-day truce.

Four children and relatives were included with another five elderly women, a statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said.

"The government of Israel embraces its civilians who returned home. The government of Israel is committed to returning all the hostages and missing," it said.

At least 50 of the some 240 Israelis and foreigners taken captive by Hamas gunman during a rampage through southern Israel on Oct. 7 are expected to be freed over the coming days after a Qatari-brokered agreement sealed last week. In exchange, 39 Palestinian women and minors detained by Israel were released on Friday, the first of a group of 150 who are due to be freed from Israeli detention under the agreement.

13 Israelis, 10 Thais and one Filipino freed by Hamas: Qatar
A total of 24 hostages - 13 Israelis, 10 Thais and one Filipino - were handed over on Friday to the Red Cross in Gaza by Hamas, Qatar's foreign ministry spokesman said.

"Those released include 13 Israeli citizens, some of whom are dual citizens, in addition to 10 Thai citizens and a Filipino citizen," Majed Al Ansari said.

He said that 39 women and children detained in Israeli jails had also been freed under a deal to exchange hostages seized by Hamas for Palestinian prisoners.
A Red Cross vehicle, as part of a convoy believed to be carrying hostages abducted by Hamas militants during the October 7 attack on Israel, arrives at the Rafah border, amid a hostages-prisoners swap deal between Hamas and Israel, as seen from southern Gaza Strip November 24, 2023. Image Credit: Reuters

Israel releases 39 Palestinians from prison

Israel confirmed Friday that it released 39 Palestinian prisoners in line with a truce deal that saw hostages freed by Hamas in Gaza hours earlier.

Qadura Fares, who heads an advocacy group for prisoners, said 33 prisoners freed in the West Bank were handed to a team from the International Committee of the Red Cross. He said the remaining six were being freed from a Jerusalem lockup. Over the next four days, 150 Palestinian prisoners and 50 Israeli hostages are to be freed.

137 aid trucks unloaded in Gaza since truce started

A total of 137 trucks carrying food, water, medicine and other essentials have been unloaded in Gaza, the United Nations said.

This was the biggest humanitarian convoy to enter Gaza since the war started on October 7, the UN office for humanitarian affairs said in a statement.

Israel releases names of 13 released hostages

Four children and six elderly women were among the first batch of 13 Israeli hostages released Friday under a truce agreement between Israel and Hamas, an official Israeli list showed. Three girls and a boy, aged from two to nine, were on the list issued by the Israeli prime minister's office, as were six women aged over 70. Eight of the 13 freed hostages were from three family groups.

The lisit of names include: Margalit Mozes, Adina Moshe, Daniel Aloni, Emilia Aloni, Yafa Adar, Ohad Munder, Keren Munder, Ruth Munder, Aviv Asher, Raz Asher, Doron Katz Asher, Hana Katzir, Channa Peri

Freed hostages 'inside Israeli territory'

The Israeli army said on Friday the first hostages released from the Gaza Strip were back on Israeli territory where they would undergo medical checks before being reunited with their families.

"The released hostages underwent an initial medical assessment inside Israeli territory," the military said in a statement, adding they would be accompanied by "soldiers as they make their way to Israeli hospitals, where they will be reunited with their families".

Several Thai hostages released by Hamas

A total of 25 Thai nationals were among the estimated 240 people taken hostage by Hamas during last month's wave of cross-border raids into Israel. The Thai and Israeli governments said the number of Thai hostages freed on Friday stood at 12.

"It has been confirmed by the security side and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that 12 Thai hostages are already released," Thailand's Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin posted on X.

The Thai foreign ministry said in a statement that the 12 released Thai hostages had been transported into Israel via Egypt, as agreed under the terms of the truce deal.

"At this time, the gender and names of these Thais are not known," the ministry said, adding that it would "do all possible to expedite their return to Thailand."

Nitsan Chen, head of the Israeli government's press office, said that 12 Thai hostages released by Hamas would be taken to hospital in Israel.

UAE field hospital begins entering Gaza

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced today the start of the process of establishing a fully integrated and equipped Emirati field hospital in the southern Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing, to provide the necessary medical support to the brotherly Palestinian people.

An Emirati medical team will supervise the field hospital and provide medical care to the injured, as part of the ‘Gallant Knight 3’ humanitarian operation, which was launched by the UAE under the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The Emirati medical team will supervise the field hospital and provide medical care to the injured, as part of the ‘Gallant Knight 3’ humanitarian operation.

The hospital will have a capacity of 150 beds, and will be established in multiple stages, encompassing departments for general surgery, orthopedics, pediatrics, and gynecology, in addition to anesthesia and intensive care units catering to both children and adults.

The facility will also house clinics for internal medicine, dentistry, psychiatry, and family medicine. Supplementary services will include CT imaging, a laboratory, a pharmacy, and other medical support functions.

Multi-day operation to release hostages begins: Red Cross 

 The International Red Cross confirmed on Friday that its teams had started carrying out a multi-day operation to facilitate 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.

Israeli army withdraws from Gaza hospital

Israeli forces withdrew from Gaza’s largest hospital Al Shifa on Friday, the Hamas-run health ministry said, on the first day of a temporary truce.

Hamas health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al Qudra, said the Israeli military had withdrawn but the people remaining at Al Shifa were in a battered complex whose “main generator is destroyed along with numerous buildings”.

“We’re working on further evacuations from hospitals as soon as possible,” said Lindmeier, with recent Israeli operations focusing on the Indonesian Hospital, another medical facility in northern Gaza.

Lindmeier said the latest evacuation convoy had left Al Shifa with “73 severely ill or injured patients” including some in need of critical care.

Al Shifa has been a major focus of Israel’s ground offensive in the Gaza Strip following attacks by Hamas across southern Israel on October 7, which Israeli officials say killed about 1,200 people.