JERUSALEM – The Israeli army announced late Monday that 11 Israeli hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip had arrived in Israel as part of a hostage swap deal with the Palestinian group reached through Qatari, Egyptian, and American mediation.
“An elite unit of the Israeli army and a force from the Shabak (General Security Service) are currently accompanying the kidnapped individuals, the 11 who have returned to Israel,” the army said in a brief statement. “After conducting an initial assessment of their health, our forces will accompany the returnees until they reach their families in hospitals.”
"We will continue collaborating with security agencies for the return of all kidnapped individuals. The spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Forces urges the public to exercise patience and respect the privacy of the returnees and their families,” it added.
The official Israeli Broadcasting Authority said that among the released detainees were nine children and two women.
It also reported that Hamas released six detainees from Thailand who were in its custody.
The Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that Thai Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara would arrive in Israel on Tuesday and meet with the released Thais.
Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said 33 Palestinians – 30 children and three women – would be released tonight in exchange for the freeing of the 11 Israeli hostages.
Ministry spokesperson Majid Al-Ansari said on X (formerly Twitter) that the released Israelis include three with French nationality, two with German nationality, and six with Argentine nationality. (Anadolu)