Hamas on Friday, November 24, released the initial group of hostages captured in the deadliest attack in Israel’s history. This release was part of a deal that resulted in a temporary truce in the conflict-ridden Gaza Strip.

Hamas on Friday freed a first batch of hostages seized in the deadliest attack in Israel’s history under a deal that saw a temporary truce take hold in war-ravaged Gaza.

Thirteen Israeli hostages captured during Palestinian militants’ cross-border raids were back in Israeli territory, where they would undergo medical checks before being reunited with their families, the army said.

They included four children and six elderly women, a list issued by the Israeli prime minister’s office showed.

A convoy of Red Cross vehicles was earlier seen crossing the border between Gaza and Egypt, with some of the passengers waving, after Hamas handed over the hostages to the humanitarian organization.

Israel is set to free three times as many Palestinian prisoners — women and teenage boys — under a deal that followed weeks of talks involving Israel, Palestinian militant groups, Qatar, Egypt and the United States.

Key mediator Qatar confirmed Hamas had on Friday released a total of 24 hostages and that Israel had freed 39 women and children from its prisons.

“Those released include 13 Israeli citizens, some of whom are dual citizens, in addition to 10 Thai citizens and a Filipino citizen,” its foreign ministry spokesperson Majed Al Ansari said.

A White House official said “we do not expect Americans to be among the first group released today but remain hopeful that there will be Americans among the 50 released”.

During a four-day truce, at least 50 hostages are expected to be freed, leaving an estimated 190 in the hands of Palestinian militants.

In exchange, 150 Palestinians prisoners are expected to be released.

A Palestinian NGO said that 39 prisoners had been released by Israeli authorities under a truce agreement to pause the fighting in Gaza, after 13 hostages from Israel had been handed over.

A total of 28 prisoners were released in the occupied West Bank, a media correspondent saw, while the other 11 were brought to annexed east Jerusalem, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club advocacy group.

Two white coaches, escorted by armored vehicles, were seen leaving the Ofer military camp in the early evening.

The 39 were freed under a ceasefire agreement with the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which released 13 women and child hostages seized in its attack on southern Israel on October 7.

Israeli prison authorities confirmed 39 inmates had been released, describing them as “the first group of detainees freed under the plan to bring the hostages home”.

The detainees’ affairs department of the Palestinian Authority issued a list of 24 women and 15 minors being freed.

US President Joe Biden said Friday’s release of a first group of hostages taken by Hamas was just a “start” and that there were “real” chances to extend a temporary truce in Gaza.

Speaking to reporters in Nantucket, Massachusetts, where he was spending the Thanksgiving holiday with his family, Biden also said it was time to “renew” work on creating a two-state solution for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed Hamas freeing a first group of hostages, assuring the families of French captives held in war-torn Gaza of his “determination” to secure their release.

No French nationals were among the first group released on Friday under an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement that rules Gaza.

Khalil Wakim, with AFP