The first group of hostages have been released from Gaza after 48 days of captivity as part of a truce deal between Israel and Hamas that went into effect this morning – with children and a grandmother thought to have died in captivity among them.
Thirteen Israeli women and children and 11 Thai and Filipino hostages, who were kidnapped and taken into the territory by the terror group in its October 7 attack on Israel, were finally freed today after an agonising wait.
Israeli media reported the hostages had been transferred by Hamas to the Red Cross, then on to the Egyptians, before crossing into Egypt. Live footage showed the hostages leaving Red Cross vans and entering a trauma centre at the Rafah Crossing to undergo medical examinations.
Qatar’s foreign ministry said tonight that ten Thai prisoners, and one Filipino citizen have been released, alongside the 13 Israeli prisoners, who are now back in Israel and will soon be reunited with their families, the IDF confirmed.
Going the other way were 39 Palestinian prisoners – 24 women and 15 teenagers – who have been released by Israel as part of the deal that paused the fighting in the Gaza Strip for the first time in seven weeks which was sparked by Hamas’s attack, Qatar’s foreign ministry confirmed.
Israeli prison transport vans have been seen leaving the Ofer military prison near Jerusalem, with Palestinian prisoners believed to be onboard.
Medical staff can be seen walking the hostages into the centre to undergo medical examinations
A young girl is carried to safety as part of the exchange
Lines of ambulance were seen waiting for the hostages, while the families of kidnapped hostages were seen nervously watching news broadcasts of the vans carrying their loved ones into Egypt
A nine year old boy, his mother and grandmother are among the first 12 Israeli hostages released by Hamas thugs
The 13 Israeli hostages released from Hamas captivity: Margalit Moses, Adina Moshe, Danielle Aloni and her daughter Emilia, Doron Asher and her daughters Raz and Aviv, Hanna Katzir, Keren Munder and her son Ohad, Ruti Munder, Yaffa Adar, and Hannah Perry
Hamas fighters are seen directing hostages – including Thai and Filipino nationals – to be taken to safety by the International Red Cross
A total of 13 Israelis were released by the militant terrorist group on Friday as part of an exchange deal negotiated with Israel
The Israeli captives released by Hamas were made up of nine women and four children
An International Red Cross vehicle carrying Israeli hostages crosses the Rafah border checkpoint linking Egypt to Gaza
Several Red Cross vehicles made their way into Egypt for the handover, which saw 13 Israelis returned to home soil after being released by Hamas
The lists of all civilians that would be released from Gaza has been agreed, but was not released publicly ahead of time. Some 30 children are currently believed to be among the 240 captives who were taken into Gaza by Hamas.
The full list was later revealed as Margalit Moses (72), Adina Moshe (72), Danielle Aloni (45) and her daughter Emilia (six), Doron Asher (34) and her daughters Raz (four) and Aviv (two), Hanna Katzir (77), Keren Munder (54) and her son Ohad Munder-Zichri (nine), Ruti/Ruthi Munder (78), Yafa/Yaffa Adar (85), and Hannah Perry/Chana Peri (79).
The list was later published independently by the BBC.
All of the hostages were taken from Nir Oz, a kibbutz less than two miles from the Israel-Gaza border, apart from Chana Peri – who was snatched from kibbutz Nirim.
In a statement the IDF said: ‘Special Forces and ISA Forces are currently with the released hostages.
‘The released hostages underwent an initial medical assessment inside Israeli territory.
‘They will continue to be accompanied by IDF soldiers as they make their way to Israeli hospitals, where they will be reunited with their families.
‘The Israel Defense Forces salutes and embraces the released hostages upon their return home.
‘The IDF, together with the entire Israeli security establishment, will continue operating until all the hostages are returned home.
‘The IDF Spokesperson reiterates the importance of demonstrating patience and sensitivity during this time out of respect for the released hostages and their families.’
Writing on Facebook after the Ashers’ release was confirmed Yoni Asher said: ‘They’re finally here, at home.
‘There will be more time to talk about everything. For now – thank you all. from the bottom of my heart, for the support and the warm hug.
‘There’s no victory picture until everyone returns,’ adding a heart emoji.
Pictures of the first Red Cross carrying hostages appears to show several elderly people being taken to be treated.
One of the elderly hostages was named as Adina Moshe, 72 (pictured)
Live footage has so far shown three elderly women, wearing blue medical gowns, being walked into a trauma centre at the Rafah Crossing
Babies and children can be seen being walked onto a white bus, having gone through the medical examinations
It is understood that those involved in the deal are under orders to treat the hostages with the utmost sensitivity
The families of kidnapped hostages were seen nervously watching news broadcasts of the vans carrying their loved ones into Egypt
People in Tel Aviv react to live footage as it emerges that one of the released hostages is Hanna Katzir, who had previously been reported to have died
Live footage has so far shown three elderly women, wearing blue medical gowns, being walked into a trauma centre at the Rafah Crossing.
Medical staff can be seen walking the hostages into the centre to undergo medical examinations.
Babies and children can be seen being walked onto a white bus, having gone through the medical examinations.
The IDF has since said: ‘The released hostages underwent an initial medical assessment inside Israeli territory.
‘They will continue to be accompanied by IDF soldiers as they make their way to Israeli hospitals, where they will be reunited with their families.’
One of the elderly hostages was named as Adina Moshe, 72.
Corinne Moshe, her daughter-in-law, told the Reuters news agency her husband and his siblings were waiting at a hospital to be reunited with their mother.
She said: ‘I miss her very, very much, I want her to be back already. I want to have dinner with her and the entire family again.
‘Grandmother is a strong woman. She raised almost all the children of Kibbutz Nir Oz.’
Another was named as Margalit Moses, 78. Also named were Daniel Aloni and her six-year-old Emilia.
Meanwhile, a nine-year-old-boy, his mother and his grandmother are also among the first Israeli hostages released by Hamas thugs.
Ohad Munder, was snatched along with his mother Keren, 54, and grandparents Ruti and Avraham Munder both 78, from a kibbutz at Nir Oz on October 7.As a Red Cross vehicle took them over the border from Rafah crossing into Egypt relatives confirmed to MailOnline they recognised Liverpool fan Ohad.
A source told MailOnline: ‘I definitely recognised Ohad and his mother Keren and his grandmother was with him as well.
‘It’s great to see they are looking good but we are worried about Avraham and the rest of the hostages we need them all back now.’
Around 80 people were kidnapped from Nir Oz during the bloody attacks and among those killed there was Ohad’s uncle Roee Munder.
Another of the released hostages, Hanna Katzir, was previously reported to have been killed by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group.
However, her family confirmed to the Times of Israel that she was among the 13 Israelis to have been freed on Friday.
‘The prisoners were handed to the Red Cross who will take them to the Egyptians and the Israelis who are due to receive them,’ one of the sources said.
The second source confirmed the handover, AFP reported.
Released Palestinian prisoners wave flags as they are released from the Ofer military prison near Jerusalem
Emergency services try to clear the way as an International Red Cross bus carrying Palestinian prisoners leaves the prison
Released Palestinian prisoner Marah Bakeer embraces her family after returning home
Prisoners could be seen cheering inside the Red Cross bus as it left the Israeli military jail
They erupted with joy upon hearing that the vans had safely made it through the Rafah crossing
The agreement entailed a ‘complete ceasefire with no attacks from the air or the ground’
The hostages were picked up the International Red Cross upon arriving at the Rafah Crossing
An Israeli prison transport vehicle leaves the Ofer military prison near Jerusalem, carrying Palestinian prisoners freed by the authorities as part of the exchange deal
Speaking after the release, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: ‘We have now completed the return of the first of our hostage — children, their mothers and other women. Each and every one of them is an entire world.’
He added: ‘But I stress to you, the families of the hostages, and to you, the citizens of Israel: We are committed to the return of all our abductees. This is one of the goals of the war and we are committed to achieving all goals of the war.’
Lines of ambulance were seen waiting for the hostages, while the families of kidnapped hostages were seen nervously watching news broadcasts of the vans carrying their loved ones into Egypt.
They erupted with joy upon hearing that the vans had safely made it through the Rafah crossing.
The 13 Israelis exchanged on Friday are not the first to be released or freed since the war against Hamas began. IDF soldier Ori Megidish was rescued by troops on October 29 during ground operations in Gaza.
Two women, Nurit Cooper and Yocheved Lifschitz, were freed five days before on humanitarian grounds, while October 20 two US hostages Judith Raanan, 59, and daughter Natalie Raanan, 17, were freed for similar reasons on October 20.
Thailand’s prime minister, Srettha Thavisin, wrote in a post to X that he had received confirmation of 12 Thai citizens’ arrival, adding that embassy officials were going to pick them up.’
He said the Thai and Filipino hostages, all adult men, are being taken to Shamir Medical Centre (Assaf Harofeh) south of Tel Aviv in Jerusalem, where they will be kept for at least 48 hours.
The Red Cross later said that 24 hostages were released, instead of the expected 25.
A spokesperson for Qatar’s foreign ministry said that ten Thai citizen and a Filipino citizen have released.
It is understood that those involved in the deal are under orders to treat the hostages with the utmost sensitivity. Some of the children held in Gaza since October 7 lost family members in the attack, and their homes in southern Israel destroyed.
It is not known whether they have been told this while in captivity, but social workers are expected to break the news to any of the children who have lost loved ones.
The fragile four-day truce began at 7am local time (12am ET and 5am GMT), with guns due to be laid down across the region for the first time in almost seven weeks.
Over the four days of the ceasefire, at least 50 hostages are expected to be freed, leaving an estimated 190 in the hands of Palestinian militants.
It is not known whether they have been told this while in captivity, but social workers are expected to break the news to any of the children who have lost loved ones
The Red Cross said that 24 hostages were released, instead of the expected 25
Pictures of the first Red Cross carrying hostages appears to show several elderly people being taken to be treated
The families of kidnapped hostages were seen nervously watching news broadcasts of the vans carrying their loved ones into Egypt
The truce, brokered by Qatar , Egypt and the United States, brought the first pause in the war since it began
In exchange, 150 Palestinians prisoners are expected to be released.
Qadura Fares, who heads an advocacy group for prisoners, said 33 prisoners freed in the West Bank were handed to a team from the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the remaining six were being freed from a Jerusalem jail.
Israeli prison authorities confirmed 39 inmates had been released, describing them as ‘the first group of detainees freed under the plan to bring the hostages home’.
The detainees’ affairs department of the Palestinian Authority issued a list of 24 women and 15 minors being freed.
They included Malak Salman, who was arrested seven years ago on her way to school – when she was 16 – for trying to stab a policeman in Jerusalem.
Now 23, she was returned to her home in Beit Safafa, in annexed east Jerusalem, under Israeli police escort.
‘The police are in our house and are stopping people coming to see us,’ her mother Fatina told AFP.
‘My daughter is weak, she has not eaten since yesterday,’ she added.
Israeli police have issued orders banning celebrations in Jerusalem for released prisoners. White plumes of smoke were seen as authorities fired tear gas to disperse the crowds.
The agreement is also intended to provide additional aid to 2.4 million residents who face shortages of essential goods after Israel tightened a siege of the territory.
Around 50 trucks with food aid, along with three fuel trucks and four with gas, entered on Friday morning, said Wael Abu Omar, director of communications on the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing point with Egypt.
COGAT, the Israeli Ministry of Defense unit that liaises with Palestinian authorities on civil matters, said in a post on X, formerly Twitter: ‘Today, the largest shipment of humanitarian aid since the beginning of the war is being delivered into the Gaza Strip.’
A spokesperson added in an attached video: ‘Our war is with Hamas; not the people of Gaza.’
A total of 137 trucks carrying food, water, medicine and other essentials have been unloaded in Gaza since the Israel-Hamas truce began on Friday, according to the United Nations.
The IDF says it has has ‘completed its operational preparations according to the defensive positions of the pause’.
Hamas’ leader abroad, Ismail Haniyeh, said that the terror group is committed to abiding by the peace terms, as long as Israel does the same.
Haniyeh said in a video today: ‘Hamas will pursue its effort to halt the Israeli assault on Gaza, complete the prisoner exchange, end the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip and attack on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in addition to enabling the Palestinian people to realise their legitimate national right for an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital, self-determination and the return [of Palestinian refugees].’
Israeli security service officials were seen setting up privacy screens to greet incoming hostages
Israelis wept as they saw their fellow citizens coming home after spending seven weeks as hostages
Srettha Thavisin, Thailand’s Prime Minister, says 12 Thai hostages have been released
The Red Cross said it has now begun a ‘multi-day operation’ to reunite hostages and detainees on both sides of the conflict, adding that it will also be ferrying in medical supplies for hospitals in Gaza.
The Geneva-based humanitarian organisation said tonight it had no role in the negotiations and that the parties in the conflict agreed to the details of the operation, including who will be released and when.
‘Our deep desire is for all hostages to be released, and that civilians be shielded from the pain and suffering that armed conflict brings,’ said Fabrizio Carboni, the organisation’s director for the Near and Middle East.
Despite the truce this morning, smoke continued to rise across Gaza and journalists said artillery fire from inside the enclave carried on for 18 minutes after the ceasefire begun. However, the deal held, and the first group were exchange.
There were no further reports of fighting in the hours after the truce began.
Officials have admitted the exchange was ‘complicated’.
The truce, brokered by Qatar, Egypt and the United States, brought the first pause in the war since it began.
The agreement entailed a ‘complete ceasefire with no attacks from the air or the ground’ and the skies clear of drones to ‘allow for the hostage release to happen in a safe environment’, the Qatari foreign ministry said.
Defence Minister Yoav Gallant confirmed that a truce was underway with Hamas in Gaza, but that it was a ‘short pause’.
Once it ends, Israel will resume the war with full military forces, he said.
‘There will be a short pause and then we will continue operating with full military power. We will not stop until we achieve our goals: the destruction of Hamas and bringing home the hostages from Gaza to Israel there are 240 hostages and it is something we cannot accept and cannot tolerate,’ Gallant said.
The IDF also said on X that earlier in the day troops had ‘destroyed a route of underground terrorist tunnels’ and ‘tunnel shafts’ around the Al-Shifa hospital.
A spokesman warned in a video that those living in Gaza should know ‘the war is not over yet’ – before demanding they remain in the south of the strip.
Members of the media and people gather at Rafah border as Hamas militants are expected to release hostages abducted by Hamas during the October 7 attack on Israel as part of a hostages-prisoners swap deal between Hamas and Israel, November 24
Palestinians, including poeple injured during the bombardment, pass an Israeli tank as they flee the north through the Salaheddine road in the Zeitoun district on the southern outskirts of Gaza City on November 24
An Israeli soldier stands guard during preparations to receive the Israeli hostages held by Hamas after their release, in Hatzerim, southern Israel, November 24
Israeli border guards take position outside the Ofer military camp between Ramallah and Baytunia in the West Bank city amid preparations for the release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, on November 24
Israeli military armoured vechiles roll in a convoy near the Salaheddine road on the southern outskirts of Gaza City on November 24
Released hostage children will be given ear defenders to protect them from the noise of helicopters taking them to hospital it has emerged.
Officials have been worried that the intense shock and experience of travelling on a helicopter may cause anxiety amongst the youngest children set to be freed.
Some are said to be only three or four years old and medical staff have been discussing travel arrangements with Israeli Defence Forces officials.
Preparations for their arrival have intensified over the last few days with hospitals, medical staff and trauma specialists remaining on standby.
They will also be given a hold-all containing clothes, blankets food, wipes, wash bags and – for the children – colouring books and pencils.
In a statement the Israeli Defence Forces said: ‘Over the past day, the IDF completed preparations for receiving the hostages released from captivity in the Gaza Strip upon their return to Israel.
‘The IDF, in coordination with government ministries and security authorities, have prepared to quickly receive the released hostages and give them all the necessary support.
Stuffed animals and cushions await the arrival of children who have been held hostage in the Gaza Strip
Preparations have intensified over the last few days with hospitals and medical staff on standby including trauma specialists. Pictured: colouring books and toys awaiting the arrival of the hostages
Ear defenders waiting on the helicopter for the hostages. The IDF has said that after the initial reception and medical treatment, the released hostages will continue to hospitals, where they will be reunited with their families
Noise cancelling headphones suitable for children are waiting for the hostages to help them cope with the intense shock and experience of travelling on a helicopter
Israeli Yasur military helicopter stands on the tarmac during preparations for the arrival of children who have been held hostage in the Gaza Strip who are due to be released as part of a deal between Israel and Hamas
‘As part of the preparations, the IDF has readied several locations dedicated to the initial reception of the released hostages, including with necessary medical provisions and support.
‘After the initial reception and medical treatment, the released hostages will continue to hospitals, where they will be reunited with their families.’
In Gaza nearly 15,000 people, 6,150 of them children, have been killed in the war, officials in the Hamas-run territory said.
Palestinian authorities paused counting the dead for several days because, they said, the health system’s collapse in northern Gaza following Israel’s bombardment campaign made it impossible to provide an accurate figure..
About 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed in Israel during the October 7 attack and around 240 taken hostage, according to Israeli officials.