Israel-Hamas war: Second group of hostages, 13 Israelis and 4 Thai nationals, freed from Gaza

Sunday, 26 November 2023 (11:59 IST)
The Israeli military has confirmed that the militant-Islamist group Hamas released 13 Israeli hostages and four foreign hostages in the second round of swaps under the truce deal.
Israel said the Red Cross transferred the freed hostages to Egypt on Saturday night.
The four foreign hostages were Thai nationals, Egyptian state television reported.
Hamas said the release of the Thai hostages came about after lobbying from Turkey.
"In response to the efforts of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas has completed the release of Thai detainees inside the Gaza Strip," the militant group said in a statement.
The handover came hours later than expected after Hamas accused Israel of violating the exchange agreement, which Israeli officials denied.
Situation in Gaza 'worse than I imagined' — UNICEF spokesman James Elder
James Elder, spokesman for The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), told DW from Gaza that he witnessed injured children who had not received medical care for days.
"It is a graveyard. I said that based on all the reports and everything we'd heard from colleagues on the ground a couple of weeks ago," Elder said. "And now that I'm here, I can't actually believe it, it's worse than I imagined."
"I've been at a hospital today. Again, the wounds of war I see in children are things I haven't really seen, at least not the sheer number of children," Elder explained.
"A busload coming down from the north, children who hadn't seen medical care for three or four days."
"They just smell of rotting flesh … Children with horrendous burn marks, with wounds of war, mortar wounds," Elder said.
The spokesman for the UN children's agency said that people were using the temporary truce to look for family members, and called for the temporary truce to turn into a "lasting peace."
"We're also saying: This, this can't end in two-days time. We can't honestly, in all good conscience, go back to 100 children being killed a day," Elder said.
Earlier this week, UNICEF's executive director Catherine Russell told the UN Security Council that over 5,300 children have reportedly been killed in Gaza since Hamas launched the October 7 terror attack on Israel, accounting for 40% of the deaths.
The Hamas attack killed around 1,200 people in Israel, according to revised Israeli estimates published earlier this month. At the UN briefing, Russell also said 35 of Israeli children have reportedly been killed, while others are being held hostage in Gaza. After the briefing, Israel's UN ambassador Gilad Erdan accused the UN agencies of blindly trusting Hamas figures and being biased against Israel.

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