13 Israeli Hostages, 12 Thai Nationals Freed As Gaza Sees First Day Without Fighting In Seven Weeks

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Friday, Nov 24, 2023 - 04:00 PM

After going into effect Friday morning, the temporary truce between Israel and Hamas has held throughout the day, leading to the release of 25 total hostages from Hamas captivity

Among the 25 are 12 Thai hostages and 13 Israeli hostages. They were handed over to the Red Cross where they were taken into Egypt and are en route to Israel. A Hamas source has been quoted as saying, "This is the first group under the agreement."

Red Cross officials wait outside Israel’s Ofer Prison for release of Palestinian prisoners as part of the swap deal, Anadolu/Getty Images

The first group released were the Thai hostages, comprising foreign workers who had been taken in the Oct.7 Hamas terror raids on southern Israel. Thailand Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has confirmed their release and said that embassy officials were en route to pick them up.

The release of Palestinians from Israeli prisons are another key feature of the deal, as well as the ability of humanitarian aid to flow into Gaza. Some 150 aid and fuel trucks have reportedly entered the Strip from Egypt on Friday.

This first day of the four day truce will see 39 Palestinian prisoners go free. So far it's been the longest pause in fighting after seven weeks of intense conflict by air and land. According to more details via NY Times, there are children included in the prisoner swap

  • The cease-fire deal, brokered by Qatar in weeks of talks, calls for Hamas to return 50 of the women and children taken hostage during its Oct. 7 attacks in Israel, and for Israel to release 150 imprisoned Palestinian women and teenagers. The exchange would occur in phases across the four days of the cease-fire. Read more about the deal.

  • The freed Thai hostages were agricultural workers living in southern Israel, and were among scores of foreign nationals who were abducted alongside Israelis on Oct. 7.

  • In Israel, family members of hostages were hopeful they would soon see their loved ones. Among the roughly 240 people abducted to Gaza is a girl who turned 4 on Friday, whose parents were slain in the Hamas attacks.

  • Palestinian and Israeli officials said that 39 Palestinians jailed in Israel, including 24 women and 15 teenage males, would be freed on Friday. Among those expected to be released were two women whose families in the West Bank were eagerly awaiting their return.

On the Palestinian side a big festive scene is gearing up for their return. Al Jazeera describes of a crowd gathering at Ofer Prison, which is near Ramallah in the West Bank

There are hundreds if not thousands of people who have gathered on a hill overlooking the Ofer Prison in expectation of these 39 women and minors that are going to be – in theory – brought here by the Israelis on buses.

We’ve seen at least one bus leave one of those jails in northern Israel a few hours ago.

People have begun to light bonfires here, very excited about this prisoner-captive swap.

Hamas is calling for a "massive reception" to greet freed Palestinians in the West Bank.

However, some are said to still be skeptical that it will happen. But the Israeli Broadcasting Authority has confirmed that the Israeli group of released hostages are now in Egypt, currently meeting and being examined by Israel’s Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency, on the other side of the Rafah crossing.

The truce is still tenuous and uncertainty looms amid the hopeful signs - given the number of statements by Israeli officials vowing this won't deter them from eradicating Hamas.