South Africa

South African woman among hostages released during Israel-Hamas truce

Channah Peri

Thirty-nine Palestinians and 13 Israelis were welcomed home after release from Israeli prisons and captivity in Gaza

As the Israel-Hamas ceasefire entered its second day, a 79-year-old woman who has South African nationality, was one of the hostages released by Hamas.

Thirty-nine Palestinians and 13 Israelis were welcomed home after release from Israeli prisons and captivity in Gaza, respectively when the truce kicked in on Friday.

Ten Thais and one Filipino were also freed from Gaza and will soon be travelling home.

South African

Channah Peri, who has South African nationality was among those freed.

She was on the phone with her daughter when the attackers burst into her home in Nirim kibbutz.

Peri’s daughter then tried to contact her brother who lives in another house to get to safety, but it was too late.

Shortly after, she received a photo, sent from her mother’s phone, showing Channah in her pyjamas in her living room alongside her son. According to her daughter, Channah is diabetic and needs insulin, AFP reported.

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Palestinian

Palestinian prisoner Marah Bakeer was among the prisoners released by Israel on the first day of the truce.

With tears of joy rolling down her cheeks, and a look of utter disbelief, Marah’s mother Sawsan ran down a flight of steps to greet her 24-year-old daughter who had just been released after eight years in an Israeli prison,” Al Jazeera reported.

Marah is one of 39 Palestinian women and children released from Israeli prisons.

Before her imprisonment, Bakeer was a 16-year-old high school student at al-Maimouna School in occupied East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood.

More releases

Meanwhile, more prisoners and captives are set for release on the second day of a four-day truce agreed by Hamas and Israel, as humanitarian aid trucks arrived in northern Gaza.

The four-day truce between Israel and Hamas came into effect on Friday after almost seven weeks of relentless bombing by Israel.

The agreement brokered by Qatar brought the first pause in a seven-week-old war that claimed thousands of lives including women and children.

While Palestinians in Gaza enjoyed a night free from Israeli attacks, the happiness is mixed with uncertainty at what follows the brief truce.

Humanitarian aid

The World Health Organization (WHO) said it was working on more evacuations from hospitals, which have been repeatedly attacked by Israeli forces.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the entry of aid into Gaza was a “step in the right direction” but “much more is needed”.

“We continue to call for a sustainable ceasefire to end further civilian suffering,” he posted on X.

More than 14,800 Palestinians, including 6,150 children, have been killed in Gaza since October 7. In Israel, the official death toll from Hamas’s attack stands at 1,200.

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