Hamas frees more hostages amid Israel-Hamas temporary truce. Photo Courtesy: IDF X page
Thirteen Israelis and four Thai citizens, who had been held captive by Hamas, arrived in Israel on Sunday as part of a crucial hostage deal brokered by Qatar and Egypt, Reuters reported.
The agreement faced a momentary threat of collapsing due to a disagreement over aid supplies, which was resolved after the intervention of the two countries, the report said.
The dispute over aid, which left the hostage release in uncertainty, highlights the fragile nature of the agreement.
According to the deal, 50 Israeli hostages would be released for 150 Palestinian prisoners over a four-day period.
Television footage showed hostages on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing after leaving Gaza.
Hamas transferred the hostages to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) late on Saturday, the reports said.
Among the 13 released Israelis, six were women, and seven were children and teenagers, according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office.
"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.
In return for the Israeli hostages, 39 Palestinian civilians, including 33 minors, were released from Israeli prisons.
Al Jazeera TV broadcast live footage of a Red Cross bus carrying the overjoyed Palestinian prisoners, who were released from an Israeli prison and headed to Beitunia town in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
A Palestinian official, aware of the diplomatic situation, said that Hamas intends to maintain the four-day truce agreed upon with Israel.
This marks the first temporary cease-fire since Hamas terrorists carried out an attack in southern Israel on October 7, resulting in 1,200 casualties while around 240 people were taken hostage.
After the sudden attack, Israel vowed to wipe out the Hamas militants governing Gaza, launching airstrikes and a ground offensive in the north.
As of Saturday, Palestinian health authorities reported that around 14,800 people, 40% of them children, have been killed.
The swap on Saturday follows another exchange on Friday, where Hamas released 13 Israeli hostages, including children and the elderly, in exchange for 39 Palestinian women and youth released from Israeli prisons.
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