Israel Prison Service confirms 39 Palestinian prisoners released as part of hostage agreement
The release of Israeli hostages and the start of a four-day truce between Israel and Hamas in Gaza sparked a range of emotions in Tel Aviv on Friday, and raised hopes for the families of those still held in the besieged enclave.
As officials announced that 13 Israeli hostages, along with 10 Thai citizens and a Filipino national had been freed by Hamas, a murmur rang through a crowd of hundreds who had gathered near Tel Aviv’s Museum of Art in an area that has gained the name “Hostages Square.”
Tamar Shamir has been coming to the square for weeks to show her support to those still in Gaza, but she said more must be done. “We’re not happy, we cannot be happy until everyone comes back home,” she told CNN.
The fragile truce will see the staggered release of 50 women and children held in Gaza out of more than 200 people Israel said were abducted when Hamas militants attacked Israel on October 7. The deal also includes the release of 150 imprisoned Palestinian women and children held in Israeli jails.
Shamir said it was heart-breaking to think about young hostages. “The kids will come back and they won’t have a mom or dad – some are orphans,” she said.
Israeli-American Michal Feuer explained she was conflicted between the need to release all the hostages and “get rid of Hamas” as there was a “certain momentum” in the war, which is being damaged by the truce.
“I really feel for Palestinian civilians,” she said. “Most of them are innocent, but I don’t think we have a choice and I hope that, in the long run, they’ll have better lives for it as well” she said.