Red Cross coach leaves Ofer prison for expected Palestinian detainees exchange with Israel

Ahram Online , Friday 24 Nov 2023

A Red Cross coach has departed Ofer Prison in the occupied West Bank, believed to be carrying Palestinian prisoners, amid the ongoing truce in Gaza between Israel and Hamas and the anticipated exchange of detainees from both sides, Sky News reported

Red Cross
Members of the International Red Cross stand outside of the Ofer military camp near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, after Palestinian prisoners were transported from three Israeli jails, on November 24, 2023. AFP

As part of the first stage of the deal to free Israeli captives from Gaza, 24 Palestinian women and 15 children are set to be released from Israeli jails.

The prisoners, all of them from the occupied Jerusalem or West Bank, will be handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross at Israel's Ofer military jail around 4 p.m. (1400 GMT), said Qadura Fares, Palestinian commissioner for prisoners.

That would coincide with the planned handover at the Gaza-Egypt border of 13 women and children who were among some 240 people taken hostage by Hamas gunmen during a deadly Oct. 7 rampage in southern Israel.

"After the Red Cross receives the (Palestinian) prisoners, the ones from Jerusalem will go to Jerusalem and the ones from the West Bank will gather in Betunia municipal council where their families will be waiting,” Fares told Reuters.

Hamas to reciprocate be releasing 13 Israeli in captivity un Gaza.

An Israeli official said military transport helicopters would take part in the repatriation, suggesting they would pick the hostages up at an Egyptian airport – perhaps in El Arish, near Gaza, Reuters reported.

That has not been formally confirmed by Cairo.

The prisoner release was part of an Israeli-Hamas ceasefire that began at 7 a.m. (0500 GMT).

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