Jessie Yeung</a> and <a href="/profiles/brad-lendon">Brad Lendon</a>, CNN"/>Jessie Yeung</a> and <a href="/profiles/brad-lendon">Brad Lendon</a>, CNN"/>
Live Updates

Israel-Hamas war: Initial group of 24 hostages released

By Jessie Yeung and Brad Lendon, CNN

Updated 4:29 a.m. ET, November 25, 2023
12 Posts
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1 min ago

14 Israeli hostages to be released Saturday, says Israeli source

From CNN’s Jeremy Diamond in Sderot and Amir Tal in Jerusalem 

Fourteen Israeli hostages are due to be released on Saturday, an Israeli official familiar with the list of names handed to Israel on Friday night told CNN.

That number is consistent with an Israel Prison Service statement Saturday that 42 Palestinian prisoners would be released -- since the truce agreement between Israel and Hamas includes swapping three Palestinian prisoners for every Israeli hostage freed.

The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office currently believes 213 people are being held hostage in Gaza following the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel. 

This comes after the first groups of hostages were released on Friday amid an agreement that brought a temporary halt to fighting in Gaza.

1 min ago

The 13 released Israeli hostages in "good" and "stable" condition after medical check-ups

From CNN’s Amir Tal in Jerusalem and Manveena Suri

Top row, from left: Yafa Adar, Margalit Moses, Ruth Munder, Emilia Aloni and Daniel Aloni. Middle row, from left: Hana Katzir, Adina Moshe, Channa Peri, Doron Katz Asher and Aviv Asher. Bottom row, from left: Ohad Munder, Raz Asher and Keren Munder.
Top row, from left: Yafa Adar, Margalit Moses, Ruth Munder, Emilia Aloni and Daniel Aloni. Middle row, from left: Hana Katzir, Adina Moshe, Channa Peri, Doron Katz Asher and Aviv Asher. Bottom row, from left: Ohad Munder, Raz Asher and Keren Munder. Hostages Missing Families Forum/AP

The 13 Israeli hostages released on Friday are in good, stable condition after their release, doctors said on Saturday.

The Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Petah Tikva, east of Tel Aviv, said in a statement that “the condition of the four children and the four women who returned to Israel last night is determined good.”

“They are together with their family members in the dedicated and separate compound, surrounded by medical and psycho-social teams,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, south of Tel Aviv, said “the condition of five returnees who were admitted yesterday at Wolfson Hospital is stable.”

“Each one is being treated according to the medical examination carried out yesterday by the medical team, and they are being embraced by their family.”

“We are waiting and hoping for the return of all the abductees,” the statement added.

3 hr 57 min ago

"I cried out of happiness," says mother of released Thai hostage

From CNN’s Kocha Olarn in Bangkok and Manveena Suri

The mother of a Thai hostage released on Friday told CNN she “cried out of happiness” upon learning the news.

“I broke into tears when I spotted her in two video clips. I recognized her hair and the way she normally walks. I thought it was definitely her when I saw a lady walking to a bus in a red dress together with her hairstyle,” Boonyarin Srichan, the mother of Nutthawaree Munkan, told CNN over the phone on Saturday.

Srichan lives in Khon Kaen province, one of the country’s poorest, with her 8-year-old granddaughter. 

She said she couldn’t contain her happiness and ran around her home, jumping up and down together with her granddaughter.

“I cried out of my happiness,” she said.

Srichan hasn’t yet spoken to her daughter but plans to travel to Bangkok to receive her.

Earlier on Saturday, the Thai government confirmed her release. She was seen in a photograph alongside the nine other Thai hostages released. 

4 hr 20 min ago

20 Thai nationals still in Hamas captivity, says Thailand's Foreign Ministry

From CNN’s Kocha Olarn in Bangkok and Manveena Suri

An estimated 20 Thai nationals are still being held by Hamas as hostages in Gaza, the Thailand Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Saturday.

It added that of the 10 hostages released on Friday, four had not been previously confirmed as missing by Israeli authorities.

The families of the released hostages have been notified, and Thai Embassy officials are in the process of making “necessary arrangements for their travel back to Thailand," said the ministry.

It also thanked the governments of Qatar, Israel, Egypt, Iran, Malaysia and the International Committee of the Red Cross, expressing its “deepest appreciation to all of the parties from whom the Thai authorities had sought assistance and support.”

“We sincerely hope that the remaining hostages will be treated humanely and released safely as soon as possible,” it added.
4 hr 6 min ago

Filipino hostage doing "better than expected" after release

From CNN’s Lucas Lilieholm, Teele Rebane and Manveena Suri in Hong Kong

Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos confirmed the release of a Philippine national, Gelienor "Jimmy" Pacheco, on Friday.

“I salute the work of the Philippine Foreign Service in securing his release, and once again thank the State of Qatar for their invaluable assistance in making Jimmy’s release possible,” Marcos said.

He had been working as a caregiver in Israel when he was taken hostage on October 7, according to Avishay Ben Zvi, the son of the man Pacheco had been caring for.

Zvi's father, Amitai, was killed in the Hamas attack on his kibbutz. Speaking to CNN, Zvi said Pacheco was doing "better than expected."

“He was talking to his wife tonight and so better than expected, I would say,” said Zvi, referring to photos of Pacheco FaceTiming with his wife in the Philippines. 

“They're going to do some medical tests and emotional tests and treatment, but yes, most likely he will go to meet his family,” Zvi said.

The whereabouts of one other Philippine citizen held hostage, Noralyn Babadilla, remain unknown. 

2 hr 12 min ago

"There wasn't a dry eye in the room" during hostage family reunions, Israeli health official says

From CNN’s Joseph Ataman and Oren Liebermann in Tel Aviv

An Israeli helicopter with released hostages lands at Tel Aviv's Schneider medical centre on November 24.
An Israeli helicopter with released hostages lands at Tel Aviv's Schneider medical centre on November 24. Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images

“There wasn’t a dry eye in the room” when five hostages were reunited with their families, Israel’s chief nurse Dr. Shoshy Goldberg said at a news conference at Wolfson Medical Center near Tel Aviv.

The five elderly women were received in a specially prepared complex for them and their families. The reunions as a “very emotional and exciting event,” Goldberg said Friday.

Videos provided by the hospital showed people cheering as ambulances carrying three of the women transported them from a helicopter.

“I promise to the returning women and their families: You are finally home, in a safe place," Wolfson Medical Center Director General Dr. Anat Engel said.
2 hr 27 min ago

Released Palestinian prisoners celebrated as they return to West Bank

From CNN's Celine Alkhaldi, Nada Bashir and Shirin Zia Faqiri

Released Palestinian prisoners arrive to Beitunia, west of Ramallah, with International Red Cross vehicles under the agreement on the four-day humanitarian pause in Ramallah, West Bank on November 24.
Released Palestinian prisoners arrive to Beitunia, west of Ramallah, with International Red Cross vehicles under the agreement on the four-day humanitarian pause in Ramallah, West Bank on November 24. Issam Rimawi/Anadolu/Getty Images

Palestinians released from Israeli prisons were met with celebrations on Friday evening as they returned to their hometowns and villages in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

In videos obtained by CNN, the released prisoners can be seen paraded through the streets, carried on people’s shoulders as crowds wave the Palestinian flag, as well as that of Hamas.

Thirty-nine people were released Friday under the deal between Israel and Hamas, which also saw the release of 24 hostages from Gaza, and the start of a four-day truce in the enclave. 

Twenty-two women were among those released, as well as two girls. Fifteen teenage boys up to the age of 18 were also released — the youngest age 14. 

What they were imprisoned for: There are few more sensitive issues for Palestinians in the occupied territories than the issue of prisoners held in Israeli jails.

Some are serving sentences for attacks on Israelis, while many others are being held in administrative detention, a widely criticized practice that sees people held without knowing the charges against them, and without any legal process.

Aseel El-Titi, a 23-year-old prisoner released on Friday, told CNN she had only found out that morning she was being released. But, she said, her joy was tempered by the knowledge of what was happening in Gaza.

"Our joy is incomplete. There are martyrs because of the situation in Gaza. The number of martyrs in Gaza has become greater than the number of prisoners [in Israeli jails],” El-Titi said. 

“Despite this, the Palestinian people are steadfast, and Hamas is trying to release all the prisoners and end the occupation," she said. 

Wael Ahmad, a bystander at the Beitunia crossing in the occupied West Bank, where the prisoners were driven after their release, told CNN he also found it hard to celebrate when so many had been killed in Gaza.

"This celebration is wrong. I am torn to pieces,” Ahmad said.

More releases to come: The agreement struck between Israel and Hamas will see three more days of prisoner releases.

For Hamas, securing the freedom of an expected 150 incarcerated Palestinians represents an opportunity to burnish its credentials in the West Bank as the flagbearer of Palestinian resistance.

4 hr 9 min ago

Israel says it received a list of hostages to be released on Saturday

From Tamar Michaelis in Tel Aviv

The Mossad and the Israel Defense Forces have received the second list of Israeli hostages due to be released on Saturday as part of the framework agreed with Hamas, the office of Israel's prime minister wrote in a statement on Friday.

Security officials are reviewing the list of names, the statement read. An Israeli source told CNN there are children on the list of hostages expected to be released on Saturday.

Israel's Hostage Coordinator Brig. Gen. (res.) Gal Hirsch has given the information to the families of the hostages, the statement added.  

The list will not be released to the public until the hostages are safely in Israeli hands.

CNN's Kaitlan Collins contributed to this report.

4 hr 32 min ago

11 released foreign nationals transferred to Israeli medical center, Foreign Ministry says

From Tamar Michaelis in Tel Aviv

Eleven foreign nationals — 10 men and one woman — freed by Hamas in Gaza are spending the night at Shamir-Assaf HaRofeh Medical Center, according to the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

The medical center is located in the Israeli town of Beer Yaakov, southeast of Tel Aviv,

The 10 Thai citizens and one Philippine citizen will remain at the hospital until medical examinations are complete, the ministry said in a statement.

“An initial examination suggests [the freed hostages] seem well,” Dr. Osnat Levtzion Korach, the medical center’s director general said in a video statement. “They are very glad to be somewhere safe and are thankful for the treatment and attention," he added.

“We’re very glad and proud to take a part in this effort,” the doctor said.