Israel announced the release of two additional hostages from Gaza, increasing the total number of individuals liberated by Hamas to four.
The recently released individuals are identified as Nurit Cooper, aged 79, and Yocheved Lifshitz, aged 85. Gratitude was extended to Egypt for its involvement, as well as to the Red Cross for its significant contribution.
Hamas declared the hostages were released due to humanitarian and health considerations, but Israel initially declined to accept them.
The two women were abducted from their residences in Kibbutz Nir Oz during Hamas’s assaults on southern Israel on October 7th.
According to a declaration from the office of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the women were transferred to the Israel Defense Forces and are en route to an Israeli medical facility, where relatives await their arrival.
Hamas issued a video on Monday evening, purportedly capturing the instance the two senior hostages were handed over under nightfall to delegates from the International Committee of the Red Cross.
In the footage, Ms. Lifshitz is audible, stating her identity and verifying her age. Before her departure, she approaches a Hamas gunman in disguise, extends her hand, and utters “shalom.”
Family members in the UK and Israel have expressed their relief upon hearing of Ms. Lifshitz’s release.
Sharone, residing in London and daughter of Ms. Lifshitz, affirmed in a communication that her mother was among the two hostages released by Hamas on Monday night.
She conveyed, “While I cannot put into words the relief that she is now safe, I will remain focused on securing the release of my father and all those – some 200 innocent people – who remain hostages in Gaza.”
The Times of Israel reported words from Daniel Lifshitz, Ms. Lifshitz’s grandson, who shared his and his family’s emotions of excitement and joy upon the news of his grandmother’s impending return.
Mr. Lifshitz, presently in Eilat, a southern Israeli city, mentioned his grandmother is in Egypt, anticipating entry into Israel, and that they have already made contact.
Israel stated that Ms Cooper’s husband Amiram, 85, and Ms Lifshitz’s husband Oded, 83, were still held hostage by Hamas, and that it would continue to “work in every way” for their release.
It’s reported by Israel that over 200 individuals were taken hostage in the assaults by Hamas on October 7th.
Moreover, Hamas assailants are responsible for the deaths of over 1,400 individuals in regions neighboring to Gaza, leading to widespread dismay and condemnation.
The health department under Hamas’s control in Gaza reported the fatalities of over 5,000 Palestinians, following the commencement of Israeli airstrikes, resulting in the obliteration of whole districts.
Two American-Israelis, Judith and Natalie Raanan, a mother-daughter duo, gained their freedom from captivity last Friday.
There were earlier indications on Monday suggesting the potential liberation of approximately 50 individuals with foreign or dual citizenship, possibly through the intermediation of Qatar.
However, an insider familiar with the negotiations refuted these claims, while acknowledging that discussions continue regarding a comprehensive release of civilians, though no significant advancements have been achieved so far.
Hamas has discussed the possibility of freeing additional hostages, proposing a ceasefire and the allowance of more humanitarian aid into Gaza as conditions.