1. U.S. Diplomacy Leads to Hostage Release as Biden Describes the Historic Deal
A historic hostage release pact brokered between Hamas and Israel has been described as just the “start” by U.S. President Joe Biden. Speaking following the release of 24 hostages at a groundbreaking event, Biden said extensive U.S. diplomacy had helped secure the deal and hinted that he expected more releases from the Palestinian militant group soon.
“We have now completed the return of the first of our hostages,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared. The release of 13 Israeli women and children, 10 Thai farm workers, and a Filipino has been completed, marking a significant moment in the ongoing conflict.
2. Bipartisan Intervention
Biden described the release as a result of bipartisan intervention led by the United States, Qatar, and Egypt. This intervention saw the cessation of fighting in Gaza, allowing for the safe passage of the 24 hostages. The hostages were transferred out of Gaza and handed over to Egyptian authorities at the Rafah border crossing.
3. Qatar’s Crucial Role
The pivotal role played by Qatar in the process was confirmed Friday as the country announced it had facilitated the release of 39 Palestinian prisoners by brokering an arrangement with Hamas. Qatar also confirmed the release of 24 hostages held by Hamas in Gaza through two separate deals. A vehicle carrying the hostages was seen arriving at the Rafah border from the Southern Gaza Strip.
The hostages, including the 13 Israelis, were earlier handed over to the Red Cross under a four-day humanitarian truce. Biden cautiously expressed hope that the Arab world would help apply pressure to end the conflict and free American nationals held by Hamas.
4. Red Cross Reports
The International Committee of the Red Cross confirmed that its team has begun facilitating the hostage releases. A post on social media by the ICRC confirmed this development, stating that the hostages could now reunite with their families following their release.
5. Ongoing Effort
The size of the next batch of hostages to be released by Hamas is expected to be known within the next hour, Biden said. He also expressed his hopeful sentiment as U.S. authorities continue to work towards securing the release of American nationals held by Hamas.
Biden also emphasized that this release is not the end of the conflict but a part of an ongoing process. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu echoed his sentiment, stating that he is committed to seeing that all hostages are returned.
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