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Hamas releases first group of hostages

Hamas releases first group of hostages

The radical Palestinian group Hamas has released the first group of hostages under a ceasefire agreement that came into effect on November 24, according to officials and media reports.

The group of freed hostages includes 13 Israelis who were held in the Gaza Strip for almost seven weeks by Hamas - a group designated as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.

Twelve Thai nationals have also been released, Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said.

The International Red Cross said it had launched a "several-day operation" to reunite hostages and prisoners on both sides of the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis.

The organization's announcement comes after Hamas began releasing hostages.

The Red Cross said it would also provide medical supplies to hospitals in Gaza.

"Our great desire is for all hostages to be freed and for civilians to be protected from the pain and suffering that armed conflict brings," said Red Cross Middle East director Fabrizio Carboni.

According to the agreement, the ceasefire will last four days, during which time 50 hostages will be released.

Israel will also release 150 Palestinians over four days as part of the deal. Thirty-nine prisoners will be released on November 24.

During the October 7 attacks in southern Israel, Hamas killed more than 1,200 people and took nearly 240 hostages.

As a result of Israeli retaliatory attacks, at least 13,000 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip - inhabited by 2.3 million inhabitants.

The ceasefire on Friday offered some relief to Gazans, who have faced weeks of relentless Israeli bombardment, and to families in Israel who fear the fate of loved ones taken hostage during the attack. of October 7 by Hamas.

Under the deal, Israel will release three Palestinians for every hostage released by Hamas. The release of the hostages by the radical Palestinian group will take place in stages over the next four days.

The agreement for a ceasefire and the release of hostages and prisoners was reached days ago, after weeks of tense indirect negotiations, as Qatar, the United States and Egypt served as mediators.

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