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Israeli forces says 13 released hostages back in Israeli territory, 4 more en route

Qatar says 39 Palestinians held by Israel are to be released from prison on Sunday

By AFP - Nov 27,2023 - Last updated at Nov 27,2023

Palestinians fleeing the north walk along the Salaheddine road in the Zeitoun district on the southern outskirts of Gaza City on Sunday (AFP photo)

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — The Israeli occupation said on Sunday that 13 released hostages were back on Israeli territory and another four were on their way to Egypt.

Twelve were headed to a military base, accompanied by Israeli special forces, it said in a statement, and one had been flown directly to hospital. Four additional released hostages were on their way to the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, it added.

Hamas is expected to free a total of 50 hostages in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners in Israel over the course of a four-day pause brokered by Qatar, Egypt and the United States.

An earlier statement said the released hostages included three foreign national who had been handed over to the Red Cross in the Gaza Strip, on the third day of an agreed pause in the fighting between Israel and Hamas.

Lead mediator Qatar said 39 Palestinian held by Israel are to be released from prison later in the evening, in exchange for the release of 13 Israelis, another one holding Russian citizenship and three Thais.

Late Saturday, Hamas released a second group later than expected after the fighter group accused Israel of violating the terms of the agreement, which Israeli officials denied.

Hamas said it freed a hostage who holds Russian citizenship in support of Moscow’s foreign policy toward Palestinians.

That release was in “response to the efforts of Russian President Vladimir Putin and in appreciation of the Russian position in support of the Palestinian cause”, the militant group said in a statement.

The military wing of Hamas said on Sunday that the commander of its northern brigade and four other senior leaders had been killed during Israel’s offensive against the Islamist movement.

In a statement, the Ezzedine Al Qassam Brigades said Ahmed Al Ghandour was a member of its military council, and named three of the others, among them Ayman Siyyam, head of its rocket division, while its West Bank branch confirmed another leader’s death.

 

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