GAZA, NOV 26: More hostages to be released today as Gaza truce holds Hamas hands over 13 Israelis, four Thai nationals to Red Cross on second day of truce after brief dispute.
Thirteen Israelis and four Thai nationals released from Hamas captivity arrived in Israel on Sunday in the second step of a crucial hostage deal that briefly risked falling apart due to a dispute over the delivery of aid supplies into Gaza.
The short-lived dispute that threatened the temporary truce to free captives was overcome with the mediation of Qatar and Egypt, but it underscored the fragility of the agreement, under which a total of 50 Israeli hostages are to be exchanged for 150 Palestinian prisoners over four days.
Television footage showed hostages on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing after leaving Gaza, as Hamas handed over the captives to the International Committee of the Red Cross late on Saturday. Of the 13 Israelis released, six were women and seven were children and teenagers.
“The released hostages are on their way to hospitals in Israel, where they will reunite with their families,” the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement.
Among the Palestinian prisoners released from two Israeli prisons, six were women and 33 were minors, the Palestinian news agency WAFA reported. Some of those released arrived at Al-Bireh Municipality Square in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where thousands of citizens were waiting for them, according to a Reuters witness.
Saturday’s swap comes after the initial release of 13 other Israeli hostages including children and the elderly by Hamas on Friday in return for the release of 39 Palestinian women and youth from Israeli prisons.
Hamas on Friday also released 10 Thai farm workers and a Filipino.