Saturday, December 9, 2023

Hamas Releases 2 Elderly Israelis Held in Gaza

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In the midst of the Israel-Hamas conflict, the extremist group released two additional hostages, identified as Nurit Cooper and Yocheved Lifshitz, as reported by The Times of Israel. A military helicopter transported them to Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv upon their release from Hamas captivity in Gaza. According to a nurse at Ichilov Hospital, both Cooper and Lifshitz appeared to be in good health. They had an emotional reunion with their families. Both hostages were on medication which they may not have received during their two-week captivity. The hospital will assess their condition more thoroughly in the morning.

Hamas’s Qassam Brigades released a video showing the hostages being handed over to members of the International Red Cross. In the footage, the two women, dressed in matching purple robes, were seen walking unsteadily, accompanied by masked gunmen who offered them snacks and drinks. The Times of Israel reported that both women appeared terrified for much of the video.

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan expressed Washington’s welcome for the release of these hostages and stated that efforts are ongoing for the release of the remaining hostages, estimated to be over 200.

Previously, two American hostages, identified as Judith Tai Raanan and her 17-year-old daughter Natali Raanan, were released by Hamas. They were from Chicago and had been visiting relatives in Nahal Oz, a farming community in southern Israel. They were released on humanitarian grounds due to the mother’s poor health, as stated by their family members. The release followed negotiations involving Qatar and Hamas.

On Saturday, the Hostages and Missing Families Forum in Israel initiated a “Lighting up the Light” campaign to advocate for the swift return of the hostages. Families of the hostages and missing persons urged Israeli citizens to participate in a five-minute demonstration of solidarity and support for the hostages at the Museum Tower on 4 Barakovich St. in Tel Aviv. Hundreds across the country joined the initiative, including members of the Knesset, municipalities, malls, stadiums, and theaters.

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