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The Source with Kaitlan Collins
Israel Receives Second List Of Hostages To Be Freed; 24 Hostages Released On Day 1 Of Israel-Hamas Truce; Egypt Hails Success Of Israel-Hamas Truce So Far; President Biden Hopeful That His Fellow American Hostages Held By Hamas May Be Released Sooner; 11 Foreigners Among The First Batch Of Released Hamas-Held Hostages In The Four-Day Truce. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired November 24, 2023 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening and welcome to a special edition of THE SOURCE. I'm Kaitlan Collins live in Tel Aviv tonight alongside my colleague, Pamela Brown in Washington.
New tonight, Israel now has the list of hostages who are supposed to be released on Saturday. Right now, we don't know the details yet but we are hearing from sources that are telling me several children are on that list.
It's all expected to start again just hours from now as part of this expected four-day truce. One big question that we still don't have an answer to yet and we have not heard anything from the White House on is whether or not Americans will be included in this next group.
As for today's 24 freed hostages, they are back on Israeli soil tonight receiving medical treatment, being reunited with their families, eight hostages, four children, three mothers, and one grandmother. They're at this children's hospital that you can see here near Tel Aviv.
We're hearing from doctors who say that they are all in relatively good condition. They are undergoing a medical assessment at this time, Pam.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: And so far, Kaitlan, no Americans, as we know, have been free. Despite that, President Biden says he's hopeful that at least a few will be released in the coming days, perhaps tomorrow. We'll have to wait and see.
By the end of this four-day pause in fighting, Hamas is expected to free 50 hostages, of course, that is assuming this truce holds. Other conditions in this deal include the release of dozens of Palestinian prisoners and critical aid getting into Gaza. Kaitlan?
COLLINS: Yes. CNN's Matthew Chance has been tracking all of this in these hostages and how they finally made their way after a difficult journey back to Israel. Here is his report.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CHIEF GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): They kidnapped and killed. But now Hamas is showing its gunman releasing Israelis in Gaza. For many, these are disturbing scenes, nine-year-old Ohad Munder being embraced as he's set free, an old woman being carried by a masked man as Palestinians cheer.
After 49 long days of captivity in Gaza, aid workers from the Red Cross drive them through the border into Egypt and to freedom. Egyptian television shows a convoy of vehicles heading to the crossing. Then the hostages, including 10 Thais, a Filipino and the 13 Israeli women and children, disembarking for checks.
Israeli military posted this grainy video of the moment, they all finally re-entered the country, a step, says the Israeli prime minister, towards bringing all hostages home.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: We have just completed the return of the first of our hostages, children, their mothers and additional women. Each one of them is a whole world. But I emphasize to you, the families, and to you, citizens of Israel, we are committed to return all our hostages.
CHANCE: Most of the hostages released in this first group under the temporary truce were taken from Nir Oz, one of the small Israeli communities near Gaza ravaged by Hamas on October the 7th. At least 38 people there were killed, and more than 70 abducted.
People like Danielle Aloni and her five-year-old daughter Amelia both freed in this latest release, but the relatives they were visiting when Hamas attacked remain unaccounted for as hostages.
Behind every release, a poignant reminder of those left behind, like the family of Omri Almog, his brother-in-law and niece killed, his sister and her three children still hostages, yet Omri is now optimistic.
OMRI ALMOG, FAMILY KIDNAPPED BY HAMAS: The best is in front of us. It's going to come. Whatever happens, we cannot change. Nadav (ph) is no longer with us. Siam (ph), the beautiful girl, is not with us anymore.
CHANCE: But there's still a chance? There's still a chance for your sister and your children?
ALMOG: Yes. We have to bring what's left. We need to bring back what's left from this family. It's a broken family.
CHANCE: A broken family in a country of shattered lives.
Matthew Chance, CNN, Tel Aviv.
COLLINS: And our thanks to Matthew for that report. And joining me here now, two prominent and well-sourced Israeli journalists, Amir Tibon and Nadav Eyal. I want to thank you both for being here. Amir, of course, you're also a survivor of this attack. We'll get into that in a moment.
When it comes to what we're expecting tomorrow, it is the second day of this release, today seemed to go relatively smoothly and according to what people thought. What are you expecting? What are you hearing about what tomorrow could look like?
NADAV EYAL, COLUMNIST, ISRAEL'S YEDIOTH AHRONOTH NEWSPAPER: First of all, I just got a text message from a friend of mine, a good friend. And the only thing he wrote there, Kaitlan, was, we're going to get some of them back, because his family was captured, was kidnapped in one of those kibbutzim on the border. And he just wrote to me, we're going to get some of them back, because the IDF notified them that they're going to get them back.
And I just -- just seeing this text message made me so emotional about this. I called him immediately.
And this tells you something about how emotional this day has been for Israelis, just seeing them getting back now. So, the families have been notified across Israel. They know that they're supposed to see them back home.
But when we talked, we told each other, you know, until they're here, we can't trust this. And everything is so fragile right now, because you're dealing with Yahya Sinwar and you're dealing with this terrorist organization, and you can never know until they actually do that.
COLLINS: Yes. I mean, that's what everyone has said. Even the families who are notified, they wait until they can actually embrace them.
I mean, from your kibbutz as well, there are hostages that are still being held tonight. What are people holding out hope? What are they saying?
AMIR TIBON, DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT, HAARETZ: Yes, Kaitlan, it's a difficult situation. Because, on the one hand, I can say for myself, but also for my friends and neighbors in Kibbutz Nahal Oz, my community that was attacked on October 7th, and five people from our kibbutz were kidnapped. We're very happy for everyone that came out yesterday.
I was so emotional last night. I couldn't really sleep, just full of excitement and happiness for these families. At the same time, I also want to raise a voice for the families that did not see their loved ones yesterday, did not get a phone call last night that they should expect them today. And we still have so many people in the hands of these vicious terrorists from my community. We're talking about two young girls, sisters and two fathers that their families want to have them back, and an elderly woman, and grandmother. And so we want all of them back.
And I think Hamas is really playing very, very vicious, very cruel psychological game here with this information, right? One of the women that was released yesterday, a few days ago, they announced that she was dead, now she's alive with us.
So, what they're doing with disinformation and really a psychological warfare is tormenting to these families. And I think one of the challenges that I can see from my own community is through these very emotional days to continue supporting the families, telling them we're with you until the end. If it doesn't happen today, if it doesn't happen tomorrow, we are with you fighting until everyone comes back.
COLLINS: Yes. She was one of the older women released today. They claimed she was killed as a result of an Israeli airstrike, and now she was released today. I do think that speaks to the psychological warfare here.
What is the reaction in Israel to this deal overall? Because it is this moment of happiness that there has been so little of since October 7th of seeing these people come home, but also, this comes as there's a pause in the fighting. You're seeing the release of Palestinian prisoners going back to the West Bank. We've been watching those videos all evening as well.
EYAL: So, first of all, I think it's an immense sense of pride. Israelis are proud to see that their country will do everything, including posing what it sees as an existential war in order to get our people back, get our children back, and get 85-year-old grandmothers that were part of the establishment of the state.
So, this sense of pride, sort of, you know, you can see it radiates across the Israeli society, and you see the support on one hand. But you also see the worry. And the worry is about how this pause can somehow translate into something that holds back the IDF from advancing in the Gaza Strip.
People want this operation, this war, to achieve its goals. It wants -- people want Hamas to be toppled. They want Hamas leadership to be eliminated or brought to justice, and they're not going to budge. And I think this thing doesn't transcend sometimes, internationally speaking. People think that this pause might be the beginning of a ceasefire. No.
And we're polling this. We're seeing this. It's like 95 percent, 90 percent, who are saying, you don't stop this war until you finish off with Hamas. We're not going to allow you to do that unless you take down this threat on our borders. We cannot grow our children here knowing that what happened to Amir and his family can happen again.
COLLINS: I mean, how does the prime minister, Netanyahu, deal with that? Because it's calibrating that support at home based on what you're seeing in these numbers to continue this, but also the growing international pressure that we hear from many that they believe maybe that could increase as they see this pause playing out. TIBON: So, first of all, Kaitlan, I think Israel is very lucky at this moment to have one very, very good friend in the world, President Joe Biden. And I think he did a lot of work to get to today that we are seeing these hostages released.
And I know that right now his administration still supports Israel's attempt to topple Hamas and to put an end to this threat. And as long as Israel has President Biden's support, I think people realize that we still have a little more room to maneuver.
But, of course, we know he's also taking a hit for us here. We're seeing what's happening in the United States. We're seeing the voices sometimes from within his own party. And we realize that it's not easy for him either. We realize we don't have all the time in the world.
But right now, we still have some room to maneuver, and that should be used to remove the threat.
Because, you know, like my friend, Nadav, said at the end of the day, a country that allows an organization to do what Hamas did in my community, just one of many communities on that day, murder children, kidnap children, murder women, you know, these are not things that a country can allow to exist on its border.
And so right now there is, I think, this sense of unity around the need to finish the war, but also there is a lot of support for this temporary pause.
And one important element on the international scene is that Israel right now is allowing a lot more aid to come into Gaza, a lot more help for the civilian population in Gaza that also has suffered a lot in these last few weeks. We're not numb to it. We see the pictures. We understand what's going on.
Our sense, and you know, I'm speaking now on behalf of myself, but I think it's widely shared in Israel, is that it's a tragedy, but it's inevitable because we have to finish Hamas, and Hamas is operating from within the civilian population, using the urban terrain of Gaza for its own interests. And this is a problem that, unfortunately, has led to a tragic reality. But the need to finish Hamas is still a consensus at this moment.
COLLINS: And speaking of consensus, I mean, is there one within the war cabinet within the government that we're seeing or how is that being navigated at this time?
ELAY: I think the war cabinet is relatively in consensus that the war continues. It will continue south. We know that Hamas leaders are there. We know that the possibility to finish off with the organization's control of the Gaza Strip is with an operational movement of the IDF. And this is going to happen.
We don't see, you know, political rifts right now within the war cabinet as to the continuing of the war. And this is one of the reasons that you saw the general cabinet in Israel, the government in Israel, supporting this kind of deal because they saw the resolve of the IDF and the resolve of the prime minister, but also Eisencourts (ph) and Gantz, you know, the two leaders that came into political --
TIBON: The central leaders who joined.
ELAY: -- who joined the cabinet that this needs to continue.
And on the other hand, there's a growing understanding, like Amir said, is that in order for the war to continue, you need to make the situation in the Gaza Strip as far away as possible from a humanitarian crisis, because if you have a humanitarian crisis, this might somehow pause the IDF advancement. And that's the reason why we're going to see much more humanitarian aid coming into the strip.
COLLINS: Yes, much more just even in the last 24 hours alone, but still aid organizations say it's not enough.
Amir, I don't want to let you go, though, without -- because you are a diplomatic correspondent. We've talked about your reporting, but also you're a survivor of this attack. So, I just wonder what it was like for you as that to watch what we saw today.
TIBON: Honestly, it was the first evening since October 7th that I felt happiness. And it's not complete. It is far from complete until we get all of our neighbors and friends back. But a glimpse of it I felt yesterday and that's why again I'm very, very grateful to President Biden for all the effort that I know he and his team put into making this important moment happen for us, the people of Israel.
COLLINS: First glimpse of happiness. We're so happy for that. Amir Tibon, Nadav Eyal, so great to have both of you here. Thank you for staying up late for me, or early, I guess, I should say, here in Israel. Thank you both.
We're going to dig deeper into who was released today. It's not just the 13 Israelis, there are also 10 nationals and a Filipino citizen as well. We'll explain who the Palestinian prisoners are that were released in exchange for that.
Also later, what will Saturday bring, the next day of this release? As we know, there is a list in the hands of Israeli officials tonight of who could be next of the hostages to be brought home.
COLLINS: This just in, as Egypt says, it is pleased with how day one of that temporary pause and fighting between Israel and Hamas is played out. The chairman of the country's state information service pointing to Israel's agreement to stop flying those surveillance drones as they have been doing alongside the U.S. over Gaza is one reason for success.
He added that more deliveries of medical supplies, food and much- needed fuel will also continue to help the situation in Gaza that has become so desperate. Earlier today, the United Nations reported 137 trucks of humanitarian aid have made their way into Gaza, marking the largest delivery of aid since Israel's total blockade happened immediately after those October 7th attacks.
Of course, the complex hostage-release deal between Israel and Hamas has held in its first day, but there are still big questions. What does day two look like? Will it make it through the days ahead?
For more on that now, joining me is Axios Foreign Policy Reporter Barak Ravid, who is incredibly well-sourced in the region.
Barak, based on what you're hearing, you know, how confident are your sources that this deal that Hamas and Israel will both abide by it, that this will go on until the four days have elapsed and those 50 hostages have been freed?
BARAK RAVID, FOREIGN POLICY REPORTER, AXIOS: Good evening, Kaitlan. Well, day one, I think, we can agree, passed with sort of full compliance of the plan and each side did its part. The hostages were released, the Palestinian prisoners were released, the humanitarian aid came in, the drones stopped flying, there's a pause in the fighting both in Gaza and in Lebanon. So, overall, day one was pretty good.
But as we go into day two, I think there are a lot of question marks, especially on the Israeli side. Hamas transferred a list of hostages that will be released tomorrow. But there was some sort of discrepancy in this list that I think in the next few hours will have to be sorted out. And if it's not sorted out, then we might have a problem.
COLLINS: What more can you say about that discrepancy and whether or not it could cause issues on day two?
RAVID: So, the list has 13 hostages that are going to be released, I think eight children and five women.
I think that some of the names in the list raised several question marks and I think it will have to be sort of resolved and those questions will have to be answered at that moment. I don't have enough information to share other than that but there's -- I think there are question marks that will have to be resolved in order for this deal to go forward.
COLLINS: Do -- and I understand that there's only so much you can say, but do the Israeli officials or sources that you're speaking with seem to be confident that they can overcome those question marks, they can get answers to those questions or do they believe that maybe this could sort of hinder the day two of the release of these hostages?
RAVID: So, I think the last I spoke to officials in Tel Aviv, it was something like around 1:00 A.M. local time and I think it was sort of end of day already. So, most of the people I asked who said, you know, we'll have to wake up in the morning and see where this thing is going. They'll have to speak to the Qataris. The Qataris will have to speak with Hamas and to see what exactly the issue there is with the list of hostages.
COLLINS: Okay. So, we'll wait to see what that looks like, what your reporting is.
You know, when we talk about this deal overall and what Hamas is getting from this, I mean, they're releasing these hostages, but as they're keeping this going on, keeping this pause happening at the time, I don't think anyone thinks that they will willingly give up all of the hostages here, because that's their leverage.
What would it take to get the other hostages that we've been talking about, the men, the fathers, some of the IDF soldiers? I mean, obviously that's not going to be an easy feat for anyone to actually be able to bring them home.
RAVID: Yes. I think -- I totally agree. And I think there is zero chance to get the men and the soldiers out in some sort of a deal, a diplomatic deal at the moment. The reason is that the price that Hamas wants to get for them is such that no Israeli government will be able to give.
And I think that the Israelis, what they want to do is that after this pause ends and after this deal, the current deal ends, to go to Southern Gaza, to Khan Younis, to Rafah, to Deir al-Balah, to all those places, continue the military operation and put even more pressure on Hamas than they did so far, hoping that when they really get to people like Yahya Sinwar, he will think twice and say, you know what, maybe now it's time to also release the men and the soldiers. But I haven't heard from any Israeli the thought that they can be released in a diplomatic deal.
COLLINS: Yes. How soon do you think Israel goes into the south? I mean, they've very clearly been telegraphing that that is their next military step in Gaza. How soon do you think that it could happen after this pause?
RAVID: I think it could happen pretty soon. You know, the initial pause is four days, okay? Let's say Hamas manages to bring another 10, another 20, another 30, you know, it's not going to be more than a week of a pause, okay? And then they'll just resume the operation.
So, I think now we're under the impression of this deal. We're under the impression of almost 24 hours now without fighting, but this thing can resume very quickly and I think it will. There's no reason to think that the Israeli military will not resume the operation in the south, as my two friends that you spoke to before, Amir and Nadav, said, the Israeli public overwhelmingly supports the continuance of this war. And no Israeli politician will do anything against where the Israeli public opinion is right now.
COLLINS: Yes. They said there's very strong support from it, based on the numbers they're saying.
Barak Ravid, as always, great reporting and thank you for joining tonight.
RAVID: Thanks, Kaitlan.
COLLINS: Of course, we should note in Gaza many civilians are breathing a sigh of relief tonight. That temporary truce has taken hold. Of course, it has become much quieter.
CNN's Jomana Karadsheh has a closer look at what it looks like on the ground.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's the sounds of life, not death today on the streets of Gaza.
For the first time in nearly 50 days, they're not running for their lives, no bombs raining down on them from the sky, some children can even smile again, even if only for a brief while.
But there's nothing to celebrate. Too many lives have been lost, so much gone, and they know there will be more.
The Israeli military dropping leaflets on Friday, warning people that the war is not over. It will soon resume, and telling them to stay away from Northern Gaza and its troops. Many still tried to head back to the homes they fled with nothing more than the clothes on their backs to see what's left and grab what they can find, including their dead.
We want to see what's happened to our loved ones. So many are under the rubble for 20 days, Abu Ahmed (ph) says. We need to get them out.
Who else will bury them? Who will bury our two-year-old and her father, says Ahma Abdullah. What did she do to them?
It was a tense scene on Salah al-Din Street, the highway linking north and south. People here saying Israeli forces opened fire on those trying to head back north.
We want to get to our homes. They say this is a truce, Mahmoud says. We're civilians. They shot people. One was shot in the head and the other in the mouth.
Gunfire and the panic that ensued captured in this video geolocated by CNN. Asked about these shootings, the Israeli military says its troops are stationed along the, quote, operational lines of the pause in accordance with the framework of the agreement. But that didn't stop those determined to get back to what's left of their lives.
Sisters Hanin and Saira (ph) cradling their cats who've been through it all with them, say they know the risks, but they just want to go back home. Gazans know all too well what comes after this brief calm.
What's this truce for, to hand over the hostages? What happens after they hand them over? What happens to us, Ahma Abdullah asks. We feel like we are dead, she says. They hope it doesn't all start again, but all they can do now is prepare for a cool winter ahead.
Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, London.
COLLINS: And our thanks to Jomana for that report, an important one at that.
President Biden, meanwhile, is in Nantucket. He has been repeatedly briefed by his national security team on the developments here on the ground in Israel. They're holding out hope that Americans will be included in that next expected round of hostage releases. But as you heard from Barak Ravid, there could be some question marks about how that goes forward.
We'll have more right after a quick break. This is CNN's continued.
BROWN: 24 hostages are free tonight after nearly 50 days in captivity. None of them are American. And while President Biden said today he makes no guarantees, he remains hopeful that at least some U.S. citizens will be in the next group to be freed. The second group release of the hostage deal between Israel and Hamas is expected in the coming hours.
Let's bring in CNN chief national security correspondent Alex Marquardt. So I, you know, you know, you know, this truth, it's fragile, right, Alex? And the first round seemed to go as planned. Now we're awaiting the second round. Did President Biden give any indication on whether American hostages would be released in this next wave?
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CHIEF U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: All he said, Pam, is that he hopes that will be the case, that the expectation is that the three American women and children who are believed to be part of this group of 50 will come out in the next few days. He indicated during a press conference earlier today, and he's up on Nantucket in Massachusetts for the Thanksgiving holiday, that was the hope and the expectation, but, and that he expected to get a list from Israel. We know that every night before a release that Hamas gives Israel a list of who they plan to release the next day.
Israel has said that they have that list. But the Biden administration right now, we have asked repeatedly, has not told us whether any Americans are on the list for tomorrow. Now, there was a major concern about how today would go. It appears to have gone well, and there were no major issues. So it's a good first step.
But, you know, this is an extremely fluid situation. The hope for the Biden administration right now is that two American women and that young will be released, if not tomorrow, then in the next few days. Here's a little bit more of what the president had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: We don't know when that will occur, but we're gonna be expected to occur. And we don't know what the list of all the hostages are and when they'll be released. But we know the numbers, they're gonna be released. So it's my hope and expectation will be soon.
REPORTER: And of the 10 Americans that are unaccounted for, do you know all of their conditions? Are they all alive?
BIDEN: We don't know all of their conditions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: And Pam, that is important. He said there that he doesn't know the conditions of the 10 American hostages who are being held by Hamas. Now, Israel is giving a heads up to the families of those who are expected to be released. The U.S. is not. The U.S. has said that they will only alert the families once their citizens are in the hands of either American officials or Israeli officials or a third party whom they trust. They don't want to give false hope because they know how fluid this situation is, Pam.
BROWN: Yeah, interesting that Israel and the U.S. are taking different approaches to that. So, what is the U.S. hoping happens after this four-day pause? Because we know Israel has said that it would continue the pause. If Hamas hands over more hostages, then again, extending the pause could put IDF at more of a disadvantage. So what is the U.S. view of this?
MARQUARDT: Yeah, it's a really interesting question, and certainly a question of how long the U.S. would like this to go on for. It's clear that the first priority is to get through these four days without a hitch and get these 50 out. Then the second priority is to try to extend that pause for, say, several days.
The hope is that Hamas is going to use these pauses to go around and get a better sense of where these different groups of hostages are. Remember, we've reported that they've spread out throughout the Gaza Strip. They're with different factions of Hamas. They're with different groups, even gangs.
And so that Hamas will be able to essentially round up more women and children and perhaps more of the foreigners like the ones we saw today and be able to release those.
President Biden said today that a major priority right now is also to get in humanitarian aid. And that has been one of the major obstacles has been the fighting. And he said, we're not wasting any minute to try to get more aid in. The deal that was struck was for some 200 trucks of aid per day.
But Pam, I think there's a major question of what happens after this pause is over, no matter how long it lasts, whether it's four days a week, 10 days. Israel has made clear they want to get back to the fighting and to dismantle Hamas, while we have known that the Biden administration has been increasingly uncomfortable with the way that Israel is prosecuting this war, with the civilian death toll and this extraordinary destruction that we've seen in Gaza.
BROWN: Yeah, you know, it does raise a lot of questions of what's going to happen after. And I don't think anyone really knows clearly how it's going to play out. Alex, thank you so much.
Well, today, crowds gathered in the West Bank to celebrate the release of 39 Palestinians as part of the hostage negotiations. The women and minors had been held in Israeli prisons. CNN's Nada Bashir reports that while there is joy, there is also fear of what comes next in Gaza.
NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): A joyous celebration as 23- year-old Malak Suleiman finally arrives home in East Jerusalem after six years in an Israeli prison. Convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison at the age of 17 for attempted murder. Police say they found a knife in her possession near the old city of Jerusalem. It is a charge she and her family have long denied.
Suleiman is one of 39 prisoners, all women and minors, released from jails in Israel on Friday in exchange for the release of two dozen hostages who had been held by Hamas in Gaza.
BASHIR: We saw many of those detainees now released, those prisoners now released, rather, being carried on people's shoulders to the municipality building where a number of their family members were waited among them. 15 miners who are released are being carried up this road on people's shoulders to much cheering and celebration even fireworks being set off. We've also been speaking at people including relatives who say they didn't want to see these crowds.
WAEL HAJ AHMED, GAZA RESIDENT IN WEST BANK (through translator): This celebration is not necessary. They need to be mindful of us in Gaza. This celebration is wrong. I am torn to pieces have a little mercy on us. They can be joyful, but the joy is in the heart because we are dying in Gaza have some respect for us a little.
BASHIR (voice-over): The release of this first group of Palestinian prisoners comes as Israel and Hamas begin a four-day truce, a window of desperately needed respite for civilians in Gaza. According to Hamas-run health authorities in Gaza, nearly 15,000 Palestinians in the enclave have been killed over the last seven weeks alone.
Israel says it is targeting Hamas in response to the terror attack of October 7th, which killed more than 1,200 Israeli citizens. But in Gaza, it is civilians that are paying the highest price. More than 8,000 Palestinians remain in Israeli jails, including more than 3,000, according to the Palestinian Commission for Detainees and Ex-Prisoners Affairs, held under administrative detention, meaning no clear charges and no clear legal process.
But for those gathered in the occupied West Bank on Friday night, this is a welcome moment of, in their eyes, long overdue justice.
UM TARIQ, PALESTINIAN-AMERICAN CITIZEN: People want to gather and be together in this moment. And however folks internalize that in terms of their own emotional reaction to it, that's for them to speak to. But I think people want to be here to be together, to welcome home these prisoners. And that's part of the spirit of being Palestinian.
BASHIR (voice-over): With over 100 Palestinian prisoners still set for release over the next few days, scenes like this are expected to continue, though some say at too high a price.
Nada Bashir, CNN in Jerusalem.
BROWN: And no Americans have been freed yet from Gaza, but President Biden says he's hopeful some will be released soon. So what will this process look like? My next guest has some answers.
BROWN: Well tonight, now that the first group of hostages has been released and is being treated in Israeli hospitals, another delicate process is beginning, debriefing those held underground for nearly 50 days. What did they see? What did they hear?
Joining us now is former FBI negotiator Phil Andrew. So, hi Phil, thanks for coming on. Now that this first group of hostages have been released, what do you believe the next several hours and days will entail for them?
PHIL ANDREW, FORMER FBI HOSTAGE NEGOTIATOR: Well, the first thing is they're going to be reunited with their families and they're going to receive a complete medical checkup and get the immediate care that they need for their health. And then the long process of dealing with their trauma.
Remember that for most of these folks, they haven't had an opportunity to even process what happened seven weeks ago, moving right into this hostage phase. So there is a lot to unpack and a lot to support them with for the long journey to a full recovery.
BROWN: President Biden today said that, well, no Americans were a part of this first group of hostages released by Hamas. He expects for them to be released soon. That is certainly the hope. So talk us through what the process will be like for those captive Americans if and when they're released. And, you know, how do you go about debriefing them about what they went through? I imagine it's just so delicate, you know, because you want to give them time to process being out of captivity.
ANDREW: Well, in many cases, it really varies by the survivor, that some are going to be very motivated to try to speak with folks as quickly as possible. And that can be an important part of their own journey with recovery.
In other cases, folks will really need their medical, their family, and their trauma to be unpacked before they're ready, and that could be days and weeks.
Certainly, officials are going to look to glean as much as they can about additional hostages, about the conditions, and how they can use that to further these negotiations in terms of reuniting more loved ones.
BROWN: And of course Hamas would presumably know that intelligence officials would be talking to these now freed hostages and the upcoming, hopefully freed hostages to get details from them. And I'm just wondering what you make of sort of the savage acts that we saw on October 7th in Israel. And this sort of image that Hamas seems to be wanting to portray through the propaganda that they're putting out, that they're, you know, taking care of these hostages, that, you know, they have been fed and well taken care of.
And we heard today officials who have examined the hostages, the freed hostages, that they are in good condition physically. Of course, mentally, that's another story. What do you make of that?
ANDREW: Well, in any negotiation, it's really about the value that the party can kind of present. And in this case, it's the wellbeing of the hostages. So it makes sense that the first hostages that would be released would present with relatively good health and be able to demonstrate their kind of the wellbeing. What makes this so complicated is we don't have great insight into the additional hostages.
In some case, they could be withholding information about loved ones that have already perished or are in critical condition. And that's going to complicate this dynamic. As you know, this has been a hard- fought kind of agreement between parties who are actually currently in hostilities.
But the key points of being able to verify and build that trust and be able to really pin down key pieces of information, that is critically difficult in a war zone. And where Hamas specifically has very fractured communication and fractions and sex within itself, that it doesn't have complete control over.
BROWN: Yeah, we heard President Biden say he doesn't know the conditions of the American hostages, right, to your point.
ANDREW: That's right. And so that will continue to be a point of establishing clear, concise, and verifiable information about the status of these hostages. In the business, we call that proof of life. That's critically important to be able to show that you have loved ones and that they are in good condition and then working toward the safe release of them.
So we're still in a very, very fragile place. And each one of these releases will be providing sort of the momentum for the next releases. So critical that these continue to go off without a hitch.
BROWN: All right, we certainly hope that is the case for the next release that we are expecting in the next few hours. Phil, Andrew, thank you so much.
And we have some breaking news. Coming in tonight, Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd, was stabbed by another inmate and was seriously injured. That's according to a person familiar with the matter. Sources say that he is now in stable condition and it happened this afternoon at a federal prison in Tucson, Arizona. That is where Chauvin is serving 21 years.
Prison employees performed, quote, "life-saving measures on Chauvin before he was taken to a hospital for further treatment," we're told. And we will be right back.
BROWN: A surprise today, Hamas also freed 10 Thai citizens and one Filipino citizen. CNN's Paula Hancocks has more on the negotiations to get them out.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was an unexpected development, but certainly wonderful news for the families of 10 Thai nationals and one Filipino national who were released from captivity in Gaza. Now, what we have heard is that intense Egyptian negotiation helped to secure the release of these 11 individuals. Now we're hearing from Thai officials that they have a long list of countries to thank, saying that they all assisted in making this happen. Egypt, Qatar, Israel, Iran, Malaysia, also the International Red Cross.
Now what we've been hearing consistently from Thai officials is that the reason there are a number -- a large number. of Thai workers in this area, in southern Israel along the border with Gaza, is because they are migrant workers who are in Israel to send money back to their families in Thailand, pointing out that many of them are from poor farming communities in Thailand.
They have also been at pains to point out that they're not in Israel for ideological or for religious reasons for the most part. They are there so that they can send money back home to their families.
So at this point we understand that they will be held in medical centers for the next 48 hours. This is where embassy officials will meet up with them and help them in any way they can. And of course the next 48 hours will be crucial to make sure if they have any medical needs, to make sure what psychological and mental trauma they have gone through and see if there is any way that can be helped as well. Because of course different to the Israeli hostages that have been released, these hostages will then want to be repatriated, presumably, back to their home countries, the Philippines and Thailand, as soon as possible, and back with their families.
Paula Hancocks CNN Seoul.
BROWN: Well, we are now about 10 hours until the second group of hostages held by Hamas terrorists is expected to be released. And tonight, an Israeli source tells CNN that several children are expected to be among them. Those hostages being handed over by Hamas in exchange for triple the number of hostages Palestinians held in Israeli prisons. Thus far, the temporary truce is holding as the sun is about to rise in the Middle East. CNN will have live coverage of every moment of that release.
That does it for our special coverage along with my colleague, Kaitlan Collins, in Tel Aviv. I'm Pamela Brown. We're going to be back, both of us will be back with you tomorrow morning, 10 a.m. Eastern. Thank you for watching. Up next, "The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper."