REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
Conflict Israel Palestine Top Story World

Israel reviews list of hostages set to be freed by Hamas on Saturday

Israel has received a list of hostages to be freed from Gaza on Saturday by Palestinian militant group Hamas, officials said, following the release of 24 hostages the previous day, the first of a planned four-day truce.

Israeli security officials were reviewing the list, the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement, after his government’s vow to work for the release of all hostages taken by Hamas in an attack on Israel on Oct. 7.

The pause in the fighting was the first such break, with both sides saying hostilities would resume as soon as the truce ended. U.S. President Joe Biden expressed hope it could be extended, however.

The released hostages, including Israeli women and children and Thai farm workers, were transferred from Gaza and handed to Egyptian authorities at the Rafah border crossing, along with eight staff of the International Committee of the Red Cross, in a four-car convoy, the organisation said.


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They were then taken to Israel for medical checks and reunions with relatives.

Qatar, which acted as a mediator for the truce deal, said 13 Israelis had been released, some with dual nationality, as well as 10 Thais and a Philippine national – farm worker employed in southern Israel when they were seized.

Thirty-nine Palestinian women and children, some convicted or detained on suspicion of weapon charges and violent offences, were released from Israeli jails. The freed Israeli hostages included four children accompanied by four family members and five elderly women.


Biden said there was a real chance of extending the truce, adding that the pause was a critical opportunity to get humanitarian aid into Gaza.

He declined to speculate how long the Israel-Hamas war would last. Asked at a press conference what his expectations were, he said Israel’s goal of eliminating Hamas was legitimate but difficult.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society said 196 trucks of humanitarian aid carried food, water and medical supplies through the Rafah crossing on Friday, the biggest such convoy into Gaza since Hamas’ assault on Israel and Israel’s subsequent bombardment of the territory.

About 1,759 trucks have entered the narrow enclave since Oct. 21, it added.


Aid groups have used the truce to evacuate patients and health workers from some northern hospitals that have all but collapsed due to attacks and lack of fuel.

The World Health Organization helped transfer 22 patients from Al Ahli Hospital to the south on Friday, its chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on social media platform X.

“To meet all the health needs in Gaza, much more support is needed and above all sustained ceasefire,” he said. (REUTERS)

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