Jerusalem, Nov 26 (EFE). – On Sunday, as the Israeli prime minister visited Gaza for the first time since the war broke out, the Red Cross received 17 hostages released by the Islamist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip, as part of the agreement for a temporary ceasefire that started Friday.
Among those freed were 14 Israelis and three Thais, according to the Israeli army and Hamas’ armed wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades.
Among the Israelis released was one with Russian citizenship, who was freed as a gesture by Hamas to the Russian government in parallel with the hostage swap agreement.
Daniel Hagari, spokesperson for the IDF, wrote on X: “According to the information provided by the Red Cross, the abductees, including 14 Israeli citizens and three foreign nationals, were handed over to them.”
The Al-Qasam Brigades similarly announced through its Telegram channel that “within the framework of the humanitarian ceasefire and in the third phase of the exchange,” 13 Israeli hostages, three Thais and one Russian, were handed over to the Red Cross.
Later, the Israeli military spokesperson reported that they had received 12 of the hostages in the border area with the Strip and that they were already in Israeli territory.
Of the five additional hostages, one was taken by helicopter directly to an Israeli hospital and four were taken through the Rafah crossing into Egypt for transfer to Israeli territory.
According to a group of relatives of the hostages, 13 of those released – 9 children and 4 women – are residents of the Kfar Aza kibbutz.
Now, Israel is expected to proceed with the liberation of 39 Palestinian prisoners, as it did on Friday and Saturday, following the start of a four-day temporary ceasefire mediated by Qatar, Egypt and the US, which included the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza.
The agreement, brokered by Egypt, Qatar and the United States, called for the exchange of 50 Israeli hostages for 150 Palestinian prisoners during a four-day cease-fire and the entry of 200 trucks of humanitarian aid into Gaza each day.
So far, Israel has released 78 Palestinian women and teenagers, while Hamas has returned a total of 58 people: 40 Israelis, 17 Thais, and one Filipino.
In addition, in October, Hamas released four more women-two American and two elder Israelis-while Israel confirmed the death of two hostages, one soldier and one civilian.
Netanyahu visits Gaza
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu entered the Gaza Strip on Sunday for the first time since the war with Hamas broke out on October 7.
During his visit, Netanyahu said that Israel has “three goals for this war: to eliminate Hamas, to return all our hostages, and to ensure that Gaza does not become a threat to the State of Israel again.
“We will continue until the end, until victory. Nothing will stop us, and we are convinced that we have the power, the strength, the will and the determination to achieve all the goals of the war, and we will,” he added.
The exact location in Gaza where Netanyahu was was not revealed, but photos and a video of the prime minister wearing a helmet and bulletproof vest among Israeli troops were released.
The comments come on the third day of a temporary cease-fire between Israel and Hamas that will last until at least Monday.
Meanwhile, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant also visited troops in the Gaza Strip and assured that the ceasefire will be brief.
“Any further negotiations will be under fire. Meaning, if they want to continue discussing the next deal, it will be while bombs fall and the forces are fighting, that’s the basis,” Gallant said on his X account.