With just minutes until 13 hostages held by Hamas in Gaza are released as part of a four-day truce deal, Israel said it is completely prepared to receive them. Hostages will be provided medical treatment before they are handed over to their families, the Israel Defence Forces, or IDF, said.
Ahead of the hostage release, Israel’s air force posted a video montage of toys, throw-rugs, and personal hygiene kits kept at places which will receive the hostages flown in by helicopter.
The IDF’s video showed their preparations – towels, sanitary pads, hot food, beverages, baby wipes, toys for children, a large area to seat the hostages, and a helicopter on standby.
We have completed preparations to receive the released hostages upon their return to Israel from Gaza.
In coordination with government ministries and security authorities, we have prepared to quickly receive the released hostages and give them all the necessary support.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) November 24, 2023
“We have completed preparations to receive the released hostages upon their return to Israel from Gaza. In coordination with government ministries and security authorities, we have prepared to quickly receive the released hostages and give them all the necessary support,” the IDF said in its post on X.
“We have readied several locations dedicated to their initial reception, which include the necessary medical provisions. After the initial reception and medical treatment, they will continue to hospitals where they’ll be reunited with their families,” it added.
Hamas is due to deliver the group to neighbouring Egypt in return for 39 Palestinians in Israeli jails as part of a temporary ceasefire in Gaza today.
“Today is the first light at the end of the tunnel,” an air force lieutenant colonel was shown saying in a video briefing, reported news agency Reuters. “We are all in this together.”
A military statement asked the public to respect hostages’ privacy. After landing in Israel, they will receive preliminary medical care and be sent to several hospitals for reunions with their families.
According to an Israeli official, military choppers will repatriate the hostages, reportedly from an Egyptian airport near Gaza, the report said.
The helicopter crew will include a commando squad, doctors, and liaison officers trained in communication and counselling.
Israel is eagerly awaiting the release of women and children taken hostage by Hamas during the deadliest attack in the country’s history last month on Sabbath.
About 240 hostages were taken when Hamas operatives broke through from the Gaza Strip’s militarised border with Israel on October 7 and killed about 1,200 people, according to Israeli officials.
Israel, caught by surprise, vowed to “crush” Hamas in retaliation and unleashed a withering campaign, which, according to Gaza’s Hamas government, has killed nearly 15,000 people in the coastal enclave.
At least 10 women and children are expected to be freed at 4 pm (Israel time) today, followed by several Palestinian prisoners from Israel, in line with the terms of a truce between Israel and Hamas.