Israel receives 1st group of hostages released from Gaza

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Israel’s Shin Bet internal security agency has received the first group of 13 hostages released from the Gaza Strip on Friday, local media reported.

   After the initial medical assessment, the hostages were returning to Israel, escorted by security forces, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Spokesperson Daniel Hagari said in a statement.

   The 13 hostages, all children and women, were sent to Egypt from Gaza and then headed for Israel. They will be transferred to an army base in southern Israel, where they will undergo physical and mental checkups before being taken to hospitals for necessary medical care, said the IDF earlier.

   Families of these hostages are waiting for them at hospitals.

   Meanwhile, the Qatari Foreign Ministry announced on the social media platform X that an additional 10 Thai and one Filipino citizens were also released by Hamas on Friday.

   The truce deal between Israel and Hamas, mediated by Qatar and Egypt, took effect this morning at 7 a.m. local time (0500 GMT). As part of the deal, Israel will release 39 Palestinian prisoners on Friday after receiving the hostages.

   On Friday night, buses carrying about 39 Palestinian prisoners departed from Israel’s Ofer prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Xinhua correspondent on-site confirmed.

   This similar process will be carried out for the next three days during the ceasefire, with 50 hostages in Gaza and 150 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails expected to be released.

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