Israel-Palestine conflict: Hostages, detainees freed as truce holds

Hamas militants have released an initial group of hostages to the Red Cross as part of an exchange with Israel

The Red Cross has been involved in facilitating the transfer of Hamas hostages to Israel as well as of Palestinian detainees in Israel to the occupied West Bank (photo: DW)
The Red Cross has been involved in facilitating the transfer of Hamas hostages to Israel as well as of Palestinian detainees in Israel to the occupied West Bank (photo: DW)


  • Thirteen Israeli hostages as well as 10 Thai nationals and one Filipino have been released by Hamas

  • In exchange, 39 Palestinians were released from Israeli prisons

  • A Qatari-mediated pause in fighting began at 7 a.m. local time (0500 GMT)

  • Israel says fighting could last two months after 4-day truce

  • Aid trucks, some carrying fuel, have started entering Gaza as part of the truce

Gaza receives largest aid convoy since October 7

The United Nations said 137 trucks of humanitarian aid were unloaded in Gaza on Friday.

"During the humanitarian pause that has been in place since this morning, the UN was able to scale up the delivery of humanitarian assistance into and across Gaza," the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement.

It said 129,000 liters (34,000 gallons) of fuel and four trucks of gas also crossed into Gaza.

It was the biggest humanitarian convoy to reach Gaza since October 7, the OCHA said.

"Hundreds of thousands of people were assisted with food, water, medical supplies and other essential humanitarian items," it added.

Red Cross confirms release of 24 hostages from Gaza

The International Committee of the Red Cross has confirmed the transfer of 24 hostages out of Gaza and into Egypt.

"We have facilitated this release by transporting them from Gaza to the Rafah border, marking the real-life impact of our role as a neutral intermediary between the parties," the organization said on social media.

Earlier, the Red Cross said it was conducting a "multi-day operation" to facilitate the release of hostages held by Hamas from Gaza and the release of Palestinian detainees from Israeli jails.

"The deep pain that family members separated from their loved ones feel is indescribable," said Fabrizio Carboni, the International Committee of the Red Cross's regional director for the Middle East.

"We are relieved that some will be reunited after long agony."

Qatar, which played a key role in negotiating the release of Hamas' hostages, said 10 Thai nationals and one Filipino were freed.

Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said in a social media post that 12 Thai workers had been freed, two more than the figure given by the Qataris. No reason for the discrepancy was given.

Israeli military says freed hostages 'inside Israeli territory'

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said the 13 hostages released by Hamas earlier on Friday were in Israel.

"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 military said.

Israel was "committed to the return of all our abductees," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

"This is one of the goals of the war, and we are committed to achieving all the goals of the war," he said in a statement.

Israel said the released hostages were: Hanna Katzir, 77; Margalit Mozes, 77; Yafa Ader, 85; Hannah Perry, 79; Adina Moshe, 72; Danielle Aloni, 44, and Emilia Aloni, 5. Ruthi Monder, 78, Keren Monder, 54, and Ohad Monder, 9. Aviv Asher, 2, Raz Asher, 5, and Doron Katz-Asher, 34.

Qatar confirms release of 39 Palestinian detainees

Israel has released 39 Palestinian detainees as part of the hostage deal with the militant group Hamas, Qatar said on Friday night.

Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesperson Majid al-Ansari confirmed "the release of 39 women and children detained in Israeli jails thus upholding the commitment of the first day of the agreement."

Qatar, along with Egypt, helped broker the deal and the four-day truce between Israel and Hamas.

Germans among hostages released from Gaza

Four German-Israeli dual nationals were among the hostages released from Gaza on Friday, German media reported.

The reports are based on a list of 13 names released by the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, on the sidelines of a Greens' party conference, confirmed four dual nationals were among those released.

"I am immensely relieved that 24 hostages have just been released from Gaza, including four Germans, that a father, after 49 days of hell, of unbelievable anxiety, can finally hold his two little daughters and his wife safely in his arms again," she said, expressing her thanks to Qatar for its role in negotiating the release as well as Egypt and the International Red Cross.

"There are still over 200 women and men, and especially children, in the hands of Hamas. Our thoughts are with them today and also with their families. As much as this day is a day of hope, it is not a day to breathe a sigh of relief," Baerbock said.

The released hostages whose family members said they had dual citizenship were: Aviv Asher, 2; Raz Asher, 5; and Doron Katz-Asher, 34; as well as Margalit Mozes, 77.

More about the 12 Thai hostages released

A dozen Thai hostages taken by Hamas on October 7 have been released, according to Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.

"It has been confirmed by the security side and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that 12 Thai hostages are already released," he said in a post on the platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

"Embassy officials are on their way to pick them up in another hour. Their names and details should be known. Please stay tuned," the leader said.

The AFP news agency reported that a Hamas source confirmed that the Thai hostages had been released.

"Hamas made a gesture to also release some Thai foreigners," AFP cited the Hamas source as saying.

Reuters news agency cited an official as saying that the Thai citizens were all men and were freed following an agreement mediated by Qatar and Egypt. The release of the Thai nationals was separate from the deal struck between Hamas and Israel that led to the release of 13 Israeli women and children on Friday.

Around 30,000 Thais were working in Israel before the start of the conflict, mainly in agriculture, according to Thailand's Labor Ministry. The Thai Foreign Ministry said 39 of its citizens have been killed and 19 wounded in the conflict.

Journalist Hazem Balousha tells DW about Palestinian prisoners released under truce deal

DW spoke to journalist Hazem Balousha about Palestinian prisoners released by Israel under a deal that led to a pause in fighting with Hamas.

The release started at the Ofer military jail in the occupied West Bank.

Out of 300 Palestinian prisoners, 123 are minors, with the youngest being 14 years old.

"According to the names [that] were released, most of them were arrested recently," he said, adding that some of the arrests were made after October 7.

He said one teenage girl was arrested after being accused of attempting to attack Israelis near Jerusalem. Another 14-year-old girl had been handed a 12-year sentence, according to Balousha.

The journalist said Palestinians were hopeful further releases could follow Friday's scheduled release. There are over 7,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails.

Balousha, who was speaking from the Jordanian capital Amman after leaving the Gaza Strip, said that people in the Palestinian enclave were both "in shock" at the scenes of destruction and "relieved" over the pause in fighting, and were hoping for an extension of the truce with Israel or a "complete cease-fire."

UK announces nearly €35 million in Gaza aid

UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron has announced that London will double its humanitarian aid to Gaza.

"I can announce new £30 million of funding which will be spent on vital aid such as shelter and medical provisions," Cameron said in a statement.

Last month, Britain released two tranches of aid totaling 30 million pounds ($37.7 million, €34.6 million).

"It is vital to protect civilians from harm, and we are urgently looking at all avenues to get aid into Gaza, including land, maritime and air routes," Cameron said on Friday.

He said that he would also discuss supporting the Palestinian Authority, which is based in the occupied West Bank. He is due to speak with officials in Ramallah on Friday.

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