First hostages released as Israel-Hamas truce begins

Hamas on Friday released 24 hostages who had been held captive in Gaza for weeks, including 13 Israelis, 10 people from Thailand, and one from the Philippines, according to Qatar, in the first stage in a swap for Palestinians prisoners in Israel under a four-day cease-fire deal.

The agreement opened the way for sorely needed aid to flow into Gaza for beleaguered residents. It was also a moment of hope for families in Israel and elsewhere worried about loved ones taken captive during Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, which triggered the war.

With the truce’s start Friday morning, Gaza’s 2.3 million Palestinians saw quiet for the first time after seven weeks of relentless Israeli bombardment, which has killed thousands, driven three-quarters of the population from their homes, and flattened vast swaths of residential areas. Rocket fire from Gaza militants into Israel went silent as well.

Previous ArticleNext Article