The first group of Israeli hostages are now in the hands of the staff of the International Committee for Red Cross and are in ambulances on the way from Khan Younis in southern Gaza to the Rafah crossing into Israel, an Israeli official says.
The families of the hostages are on their way to hospitals in Israel, where they are to be reunited later.
Today’s release of 13 hostages — mothers and children — is the first of four expected stages. Hamas has agreed to release some 50 hostages over the four days of the truce with Israel — all children, mothers and other women. The sides agreed that Hamas may eventually free more, in exchange for an extension of the ceasefire by an extra day for each 10 Israeli hostages.
The released hostages are only a small group out of some 240 held by Gaza terrorists since October 7, when 3,000 Hamas-led terrorists slaughtered 1,200 people in southern Israel.
Israel is set to release 150 Palestinian prisoners held for terror offenses, all of them women and minors, in return for the 50 Israelis. It will free 39 today in return for the first 13 Israelis to return.