39 Palestinian prisoners have also been swapped. In all, 50 captives are set to be freed during a 4-day truce.
GAZA -- The first group of hostages released by Hamas under a deal with Israel were safely returned on Friday, bringing to an end the first stage of the painstakingly negotiated arrangement between the warring sides with the help of foreign mediation.
The civilians included 13 Israeli women and children who had been captured by Hamas during its brutal cross-border raids on October 7 and held in the besieged Gaza Strip for 48 days amid worsening humanitarian conditions. All but one were abducted from the Nir Oz kibbutz, according to spokespeople for the kibbutz and the Hostages and Missing Families Forum.
The freed hostages were transferred from the Red Cross to Egyptian officials before being driven to Hatzarim Airbase in Israel, from where they are expected to be flown on to hospitals for medical checks.
Eleven foreign nationals were also released alongside the Israeli hostages: 10 Thai citizens and one Filipino citizen, according to a Qatar Foreign Ministry spokesperson.
The foreign nationals released by Hamas "all underwent an initial medical assessment" as they left Gaza "and their lives are not at risk," Israel Defense Forces spokesman Daniel Hagari said. The group is expected to meet with representatives from their country at Hatzerim Airbase and will be transferred to the hospital as well, Hagari said.
Here's what you need to know about the released hostages:
Adar is a founder of the Nir Oz kibbutz and is the oldest person to be taken hostage on October 7. A video of her being taken into Gaza on a golf cart driven by Hamas militants went viral shortly after her abduction, said the Hostages and Missing Families Forum.
Kibbutz Nir Oz was devastated during the attack and more than a quarter of the community was killed or remains missing. "Her eldest grandson, Tamir Adar, a 38-year-old father-of-two, was also abducted, and is still held hostage," the Nir Oz spokesperson said.
The mother of three and grandmother of 10 is a retired biology teacher. She is also a cancer survivor who has diabetes, "fibromyalgia, and takes many additional medications," said the Hostages and Missing Families Forum in Israel. The nature lover planned on traveling to Mozambique this winter.
She is also a member of Kibbutz Nir Oz and the wife of the late Rami Katzir, 79, who was killed in their home. "A mother of three and grandmother of six. Her son Elad, 47 years old was also kidnapped and is still in Gaza," said Nir Oz's spokesperson.
The retired educator and Nir Oz resident is a mother of four and grandmother of 12. Her husband David (Sa'id) Moshe was killed in their home on October 7.
The Nir Oz resident, who is a retired hairdresser and seamstress, was abducted along with her husband, her daughter Keren and her only grandson, Ohad. Her son, Roee, was killed on October 7, the Nir Oz spokesperson said. Her 78-year-old husband still remains in Gaza.
"She met her husband Avraham in the kibbutz... Ruth is a very talented woman, she was the librarian of the kibbutz and the seamstress. She also knits, paints, and sews. She is retired. Ruth attends classes and family trips," said the Hostages and Missing Families Forum.
The physical education teacher for children with special needs was born and raised in Nir Oz. She was abducted along with her only son, Ohad, and her parents, Ruth and Avraham, said the Kibbutz spokesperson.
The kibbutz spokesperson for Nir Oz said Munder "came to Nir Oz to visit family" when he was abducted alongside family members.
Daniel Aloni was among three women who appeared in a hostage video released by Hamas late last month. She came to Nir Oz to visit family and was abducted alongside her daughter Emilia. Her sister Sharon Aloni-Cunio and other family members were kidnapped and remain in Gaza, says the Nir Oz spokesperson.
On the day of the attack, "Daniel sent the last message to her family and said that there are terrorists in their house and was afraid that they would not survive it. Now Daniel and Emilia are on their way to Israel," the Hostages and Missing Families Forum said in a statement.
Doron visited Nir Oz with her family and was kidnapped with her two daughters, Aviv and Raz, as well as other family members, including Efrat Katz. "They were recorded being taken to Gaza," said the Hostages and Missing Families Forum. She lives in Ganot Hadar and works as an accountant.
Her cousin, Dori Roberts, told CNN in October that he received a video posted to social media showing the two women and the girls being taken hostage by militants in the southern Israel kibbutz of Nir Oz. "She looked so horrified, confused and shocked," he said of his aunt, Efrat, in the video.
His aunt's 79-year-old partner and another relative also were taken hostage, Roberts said. "Those endless thoughts about, 'Where are they? How are they doing? What are they going through every minute of the day?' That can really drive you insane," said Roberts.
Peri, who lived in Kibbutz Nirim, immigrated to Israel from South Africa in the 1960s. She worked in a grocery store and is a mother of three - one of whom was murdered on October 7 and another kidnapped. "She has diabetes, and suffers severe vision loss in one of her eyes," said the Hostages and Missing Families Forum in a statement.
Further details have not yet been given on the foreign nationals who were released.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
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