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Hamas releases 13 Israeli hostages

After a one-day delay, the Qatar-mediated deal for the liberation of hostages held in Gaza is underway.
Forlorn Israeli soldier, hostages

Israeli officials confirmed Friday afternoon to Israeli broadcaster Kan that 13 hostages held in Gaza have been freed in a Qatari-mediated deal. 

Hamas released the hostages — children, their mothers and elderly women —  to Red Cross officials, who accompanied them to Egypt, where Israeli representatives, including military doctors, await them. From there, they are expected to be transported by helicopter or bus to the Hatzerim Air Base, in southern Israel, to be examined and to contact their families. Five hospitals have been designated to care for those released.

The Israel Defense Forces has arranged for psychologists and mental health experts to greet the hostages, including therapists specializing in children's mental health. The military will supply the hostages with prepaid phones so that they can call their family members immediately after being received by Israeli officials.

Special procedures have been put in place for handling the freed children. They will be provided toys upon their release, and Ynet reports that they will not be debriefed by Israeli intelligence about the conditions of their captivity.

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