The first batch of Israeli citizens, who had been held captive by Hamas militants, have finally reached home soil. The group, comprising 13 individuals, was released today, following an unexpected truce agreement between Israel and Hamas.
This news comes after a prolonged period of intense conflict between the two sides, which has taken a heavy toll on both. The return of these hostages is seen as a major breakthrough in the ongoing peace process.
The freed hostages arrived in Israel on Friday, marking the end of their nearly two-month-long ordeal. They were held captive in Gaza, the coastal enclave controlled by Hamas. The release of these hostages is the result of a four-day cease-fire, which commenced on Friday morning at 7 A.M. local time.
The Red Cross played a crucial role in this process, transporting the detainees from Gaza to the Rafah border with Egypt. Out of the 24 hostages who were freed on Friday, 13 have made it back to Israel, providing some relief to their anxious families and a nation that has been on edge.
BREAKING: 13 hostages are back in Israel pic.twitter.com/NiXx3mVPTR
— Trey Yingst (@TreyYingst) November 24, 2023
The initial group of 13 hostages, believed to comprise women and children, were set to be released at 4 p.m. local time (9 a.m. ET). Their release was carried out at the Egyptian-controlled Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt, where they were received by Israeli officials.
The Israeli government has hailed the release of the first group of hostages and has vowed to secure the freedom of the remaining ones. This event marks a significant step in the direction of peace and normalcy after weeks of relentless conflict.
However, the situation remains precarious, with several Israeli citizens still in captivity. The world now watches with bated breath as the ceasefire continues, hoping for the safe return of all remaining hostages.