The Israeli army said Sunday that 13 released hostages were back on Israeli territory, and another four were on their way to Egypt.
Twelve were headed to a military base, accompanied by Israeli special forces, it said in a statement, and one had been flown directly to hospital. Four additional released hostages were on their way to the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, it added.
Hamas confirmed on Sunday it had handed over 13 Israeli hostages, three Thai nationals and a person with Russian citizenship who had been held in the Gaza Strip to the Red Cross on the third day of a truce between Israel and the militant group.
The release of some of the hostages captured when Hamas fighters rampaged through southern Israel on Oct. 7 is expected to be mirrored by the Israelis freeing another group of 39 Palestinian prisoners as on previous days in the truce.
The four-day truce is the first halt in fighting in the seven weeks since Hamas killed 1,200 people and took about 240 hostages back into Gaza.
In response to that attack, Israel has vowed to destroy the Hamas militants who run Gaza, bombarding the enclave and mounting a ground offensive in the north. Some 14,800 Palestinians have been killed, Gaza health authorities say, and hundreds of thousands displaced.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday met security forces inside the Gaza Strip and indicated that the campaign was far from over.
“Nothing will stop us, and we are convinced that we have the strength, the power, the will and the determination to achieve all the goals of the war, and that is what we will do,” he said.