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More hostages could be released from Gaza after Hamas shares list of next group it intends to free

todayNovember 25, 2023 3

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More hostages could be released from Gaza after Hamas shares list of next group it intends to free

More hostages could be released from Gaza today – as the temporary truce between Israel and Hamas enters its second day.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said it had received a list of hostages due to be released by Hamas on Saturday – though it has not said how many and who they are.

It comes after 24 hostages were released from Gaza via the Rafah border crossing with Egypt on Friday, following the start of a four-day temporary truce to the fighting.

Some 50 women and children being held by Hamas are due to be freed during the truce period, which is expected to last until Monday.

As part of the deal – mediated by Qatar – Israel released 39 Palestinian women, teenagers and children, who were detained in Israeli jails accused of a range of offences, from throwing stones to attempted murder.

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Helicopter brings hostages to hospital

Israel is expected to release 150 Palestinian prisoners over the four-day truce.

On Friday, following the release of the hostages, an optimistic Joe Biden described it as “only a start”, adding: “So far, it’s gone well.”

The US president said in a news conference: “We expect more hostages to be released tomorrow.”

He also talked up a possible extension to the truce, saying: “I think the chances are real.”

President Joe Biden speaks to reporters in Nantucket, Mass., on Friday, Nov. 24, 2023, about hostages freed by Hamas in the first stage of a swap under a four-day cease-fire deal. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

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President Joe Biden speaks to reporters in Nantucket on Friday

Israel has already said it will stop its offensive on the Gaza Strip for an extra day for every 10 additional hostages released by Hamas.

However, it has simultaneously vowed to continue its offensive on Gaza once the temporary truce ends.

On Friday, Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesperson Daniel Hagari said the Israeli military would complete its preparations for the “next stage” of the conflict.

Young children and their mothers among those released

Among the 24 hostages released by Hamas on Friday, were 13 Israelis, 10 Thai nationals and one Filipino.

IDF spokesperson, Mr Hagari, has said the Israel hostages would be “returning home” on Friday night following medical check-ups – having been held captive for 49 days.

Hostages enter Israel

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The hostages enter Israel from its border with Egypt

Ohad Munder, nine, and his 54-year-old mother Keren Munder, who were kidnapped together, were among the first group of released Israeli hostages.

Doron Katz, 34, her two-year-old daughter Aviv and her four-year-old daughter Raz were also freed after they were kidnapped together.

Three women – Adina Moshe, 72, Margalit Mozes, 78, and Channa Peri, 79 – were released by Hamas.

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Dad of released children makes vow

Israel’s ministry of health held a news conference at the Schneider Children’s Medical Centre in Petah Tikva where eight hostages were reunited with their families.

A spokesperson said: “We all anxiously awaited their return and are elated to see the day that they have come home to us.”

Dr Efrat Bron-Harlev, the CEO of the medical centre, added: “I was thrilled to be the one to receive four children, three mothers and a grandmother to the best and most caring hands here.

“There are not enough words to express the emotion that we are feeling at this time, together with the families and the entire nation of Israel.”

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‘Our hearts are with the other captives’

The Thai and Filipino hostages were released as part of a separate deal with Hamas mediated by Qatar and Egypt, a source told Reuters news agency.

Palestinian teenage prisoners released

On Friday, the Israeli military fired tear gas and stun grenades at crowds in the West Bank as they celebrated the release of the 39 Palestinian prisoners.

The Israelis had issued orders banning celebrations for the homecoming – though the orders were comprehensively ignored.

As crowds cheered, some of the released prisoners clambered on top of a bus to wave flags – some the Palestinian red, white, black and green, and others the bright green commonly associated with Hamas.

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Jubilation in West Bank as prisoners freed

People warned not to return to northern Gaza during truce

As part of the agreement, humanitarian aid is to be allowed into the besieged enclave, which has been gripped by a humanitarian crisis following weeks of Israeli bombardment, with fuel and medical supplies cut off.

The UN has said its Palestinian refugee agency – UNRWA – received 137 trucks with goods on Friday.

Israel has also pledged to halt surveillance in southern Gaza and curtail it to six hours a day in the north.

Read more from Sky News:
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Why is Qatar involved in negotiations between Israel and Hamas?

Meanwhile, the Israeli military has warned hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians who sought refuge in southern Gaza not to attempt to return to their homes in the northern half of the territory, which has been the focus of the ground offensive against Hamas, describing it as a “dangerous war zone”.

Despite the cessation in hostilities, both sides have warned the war is far from over.

Israel launched its onslaught on Gaza after insurgents stormed across the border fence on 7 October – killing 1,200 people and seizing about 240 hostages.

Israel’s retaliation against the Hamas-ruled territory has killed some 14,000 Gazans, around 40% of them children, according to Palestinian health authorities.

It is the bloodiest episode in the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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