The Israeli newspaper Yedioth Aharonot quoted a recently released prisoner as saying that in the early days of the war between Hamas and Israel she was transferred with other hostages to Khan Yunis.

She added that after about an hour of walking, they entered a tunnel and walked long until they reached a large hall.

She explained that the prisoners were accompanied by a group of Hamas fighters, and then Sinwar entered the place and showed interest in their identities.

"After we calmed down, he assured us that we would not be harmed, that we were safe in this place."

According to the released prisoner, Sinwar spoke to them in Hebrew, saying: "Hello, I am Yahya Sinwar. You are safer here. Nothing will happen to you," he said, leaving after the words.

At dawn on Tuesday, the Israel Prison Service announced the release of 33 Palestinian prisoners under a hostage exchange deal with Hamas.

Earlier on Monday, the Israeli military announced that 11 hostages released from Gaza had arrived in Israel and would undergo an initial medical examination before reuniting with their families.

"Our forces will accompany them until they reach the arms of their families," the army said in a statement, adding: "We greet IDF commanders and soldiers and hug the abductees who return home as they return home."