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Hamas Releases 17 Hostages From Its Captivity As Part Of Crucial Truce Deal With Israel

Earlier, the short-lived row over aid that threatened the temporary truce to free captives was overcome with the mediation of Qatar and Egypt.

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Hamas has released second group of 17 hostages from its captivity as part of a crucial hostage deal.

The hostages who were released included 13 Israeli and four Thai nationals.

The released people arrived in Israel on Sunday and were set to be reunited with their families as part of a crucial hostage deal, which briefly risked falling apart due to a dispute over aid supplies, Reuters reported.

The short-lived row over aid that threatened the temporary truce to free captives was overcome with the mediation of Qatar and Egypt but it underscored the fragility of the agreement, through which a total of 50 Israeli hostages are to be exchanged for 150 Palestinian prisoners over four days, the report said.

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“Television footage showed hostages on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing after leaving Gaza, as Hamas handed over the captives to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) late on Saturday,” it mentioned.

The report said of the 13 Israelis released, six were women and seven were children and teenagers, according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office.

"The released hostages are on their way to hospitals in Israel, where they will reunite with their families," the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement.

In exchange for the Israeli hostages, 39 Palestinian civilians including 33 minors were going to be released from Israeli prisons.

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Al Jazeera TV carried live footage of what it called a Red Cross bus carrying a large number of cheering Palestinian prisoners released from an Israeli prison on its way to Beitunia town, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

A Palestinian official familiar with the diplomacy said Hamas would continue with the four-day truce agreed with Israel, the first halt in fighting since Hamas fighters rampaged through southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and taking about 240 hostages, it said.

In response to that attack, Israel has vowed to destroy the Hamas militants who run Gaza, raining bombs and shells on the enclave and launching a ground offensive in the north. To date, some 14,800 people, roughly 40% of them children, have been killed, Palestinian health authorities said on Saturday.

Saturday's swap comes after another 13 Israeli hostages including children and the elderly were freed by Hamas on Friday in return for 39 Palestinian women and youth released from Israeli prisons.

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