Israel waits for 'miracle' hostage release as ceasefire begins

Israel waits for ‘miracle’ hostage release as ceasefire begins

Israel was anxiously awaiting the release Friday of women and children taken hostage by Palestinian militants in the deadliest attack in the country’s history in what one official called a “miracle.”

According to Israeli officials, militants in the Gaza Strip broke through the military demarcation line between Hamas and Israel on October 7, taking about 240 hostages and killing about 1,200 people.

In response, Israel vowed to “suppress” Hamas and launched a devastating military operation that the Hamas government in Gaza claims has killed nearly 15,000 people in the coastal area.

According to ceasefire terms agreed between Israel and Hamas, at least 10 women and children among the hostages in Gaza are scheduled to be released at 4:00 p.m. (2:00 p.m. local time), followed by detention in Israeli prisons. A large number of Palestinian prisoners are scheduled to be released. .

“At the end of the day, I hope this situation turns out beautiful,” Ziv Agmon, a legal adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, told reporters.

He added that Israel “will abide by the agreement, but I can’t say that about Hamas.”

“For a terrorist organization like Hamas, everything that happens in the next few days will be a miracle.”

In the conflict that erupted after Hamas’ brutal attack on Israel on October 7, the two countries agreed to a four-day silence and bombing halt starting Friday morning.

At least 50 hostages were freed during the ceasefire, and 150 Palestinian prisoners are expected to be released in their place.

Mr. Agmon said the hostages would be received individually or in groups by the International Committee of the Red Cross and handed over to Israeli forces across the border.

“Military personnel will meet with each hostage one by one, verify their identity physically and by list, and confirm that these are the correct persons,” Agumon said.

Doctors will be able to conduct a “full body examination” of all freed hostages and call their families in a conversation supervised by experts.

“This is very important,” Agumon said.


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