Filipino hostage from Israel released by Hamas following truce

James Relativo - Philstar.com
Filipino hostage from Israel released by Hamas following truce
Photo of 33-year-old Filipino Jimmy Pacheco
Released / Israeli Embassy in Manila

MANILA, Philippines — The Israeli Embassy in Manila confirmed the release of a Filipino who was taken hostage during the height of the ongoing war between Palestinian militants and Israeli forces.

The statement comes follows an agreement between Israel and Hamas for a four-day humanitarian truce. During the period, Hamas will release hostages, while the Israeli government will free 150 Palestinians from jail. This agreement includes a complete ceasefire and cessation of air operations in Gaza.

"The Israeli Embassy in Manila expresses its relief upon the release of Mr. Jimmy Pacheco from captivity by Hamas," said the embassy on Saturday morning.

"Jimmy is undergoing medical evaluations at Shamir Medical Center to ensure his well-being. Senior representatives from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, alongside Philippine Ambassador to Israel Junie Laylo, welcomed him."

Over four Filipino fatalities have been reported following the October 7 offensive by Hamas and other Palestinian militants, resulting in over 1,200 deaths in Israel and the seizure of approximately 240 hostages.

Many Filipinos from both Palestinian and Israel have since been repatriated to the Philippines following the war.

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. in a government release on Friday confirmed that Pacheco, 33, is now in the custody of the Philippine Embassy in Israel.

Pachecho was among the first group of 24 hostages released by the Hamas.

Marcos lauded the Philippine Foreign Services and thanked the State of Qatar for their assistance in securing the freedom of Pacheco.

"We remain concerned over the whereabouts of our other national, Ms. Noralyn Babadilla, and are sparing no effort to locate and secure her if she is indeed found to be one of the hostages," said Marcos.

"We pray for the continued success of the truce and for all hostages to be released."

The president assured Pinoys in Israel and their families back home that they will confinue monitoring the situation in the war-torn areas while coordinating with their international counterparts.

Casualties racking up

Israeli forces have then retaliated and declared war on Hamas, with multiple airstrikes dropping on Gaza killing over 14,854 people. The Gaza health ministry from the Hamas-controlled area said that around 6,150 children and 4,000 women were among those dead.

Prior to this incident, Israel has been illegally occupying Palestine according to experts from the United Nations, with the country instituting blockades, evictions and rocket launches against Gaza for years.

"Our thoughts and prayers remain for the safe release of the 200+ hostages still held in captivity by the terror organization Hamas," continued the Israeli Embassy in Manila.

"The Israeli government is committed and will do whatever is needed to bring them back home."  — with reports from Agence France-Presse

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