Footage shows convoy transporting hostages from Gaza into Egypt

World

Thirteen Israeli hostages released by Hamas have now crossed into Egypt, according to local media, as part of a truce deal with the militant group.

Twelve Thai nationals have also been freed by Hamas, Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has said. The Thai hostages were released as part of a separate deal with Hamas mediated by Qatar and Egypt, a source told Reuters.

The Times of Israel has said the first group of Israeli hostages have been handed to the Red Cross after arriving in Egypt.

The hostages had been held captive for 49 days.

Sky News understands no British nationals held hostage are set to be released today.

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People in Tel Aviv, Israel, react after hearing the news of the release of 13 Israeli hostages. Pic: AP
Image:
Pic: AP

Under the temporary truce period, which will see fighting paused for four days in Gaza, Palestinian prisoners will also be freed in exchange.

Some 50 women and children being held by Hamas are due to be freed over the period.

Israel said it would stop its offensive on the Gaza Strip for an extra day for every 10 additional hostages released.

It is expected to free a total of 150 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails during the temporary ceasefire in exchange for the hostages, though officials have published a list of 300 in case the deal is extended.

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

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

Israeli soldiers stand at a helicopter landing pad in Petah Tikva, Israel, in preparations for the release of Israeli hostages. Pic: AP
Image:
Israeli soldiers stand at a helicopter landing pad in Petah Tikva, Israel, in preparation for the release of Israeli hostages. Pic: AP. Pic: AP

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.

Abu Ubaida, spokesperson for Hamas’ armed wing, has stressed it was a “temporary truce”.

In a video message, he called for an “escalation of the confrontation with (Israel) on all resistance fronts”, including
the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

The Israeli military also said fighting would resume shortly.

Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant said: “This will be a short pause, at the conclusion of which the war (and) fighting will continue with great might and will generate pressure for the return of more hostages.”

The truce deal was reached after weeks of intense indirect negotiations, with Qatar, the US, and Egypt serving as mediators.

If it holds, it would mark the first significant break in fighting since Israel declared war on Hamas seven weeks ago.

An explosion takes place in what Israel military said was a tunnel at AI Shifa Hospital complex before a temporary truce between Israel and Hamas came into effect, in Gaza, in this still image obtained from a handout video obtained by Reuters on November 24, 2023. Israel Defense Forces/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY?
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An explosion at what the Israeli military said was a tunnel at the aI Shifa Hospital complex before a temporary truce between Israel and Hamas came into effect

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.

Israel’s stated aim is to remove Hamas once and for all.

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