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Fifth group of hostages – 10 Israelis and 2 Thai citizens – released from Hamas captivity, arrive in Israel

Departure of captives from Gaza delayed by large crowds of Hamas supporters

Israeli hostages released on Nov. 28, 2023 (Photo: KAN 11)

Following the announcement that 12 captives – 10 Israeli and 2 Thai citizens – had been transferred by Hamas to International Red Cross workers, they entered into Israel at about 10 pm local time.

The time between the announcement of the Red Cross receiving the hostages and their entry into Israel was relatively short compared to previous hostage release activities over the last four days.

However, almost one hour after the announcement that the Red Cross had received the captives, there was still no report of the hostages entering Israeli territory. 

Instead, almost one hour later, reports from Arab media indicated that the vehicles with the captives had not been able to leave the Gaza Strip due to large crowds surrounding the area where the transfer took place. 

Videos uploaded to social media showed thousands of Gazans cheering for Hamas militants who were present in order to oversee the hostage release. 

Israel's Maariv news outlet reported that the Egyptian secret police arrived in Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, to help ensure the safety of the 10 female hostages. 

A picture released at the time of publication showed 17-year-old Mia Leimberg being escorted by Hamas terrorists with her dog, Bella, and handed over to Red Cross workers. 

Mia and her mother, Gabriella, were visiting Gabriella's sister, Clara Merman, in Nir Yitzhak when the Hamas attack took place. All three were abducted by Hamas into Gaza.

Mia's father, Moshe Leimberg, said he had been searching for the dog, Bella, ever since Oct. 7, so that she would be waiting for Mia when she was released.

At 8:30 p.m. Israeli time, the IDF announced that the hostages were on their way to Israeli territory.

By 8:41 p.m., the IDF announced that the hostages crossed the border into Egypt and were driving to the border crossing to enter Israeli territory.

Israeli security personnel met them at the border to be transferred to helicopters and flown to hospitals where their families were waiting.

The names of the hostages released on Tuesday evening are listed as:

- Tamar Metzger (age 78)

- Ditza Hayman (age 84)

- Norlin Babdila (age 60)

- Ada Sagi (age 75)

- Ophelia Edith Roitman (age 77)

- Rimon Kirsht (age 36)

- Meirav Tal (age 53)

*The Leimberg family*

- Gabriella Leimberg (age 59)

- Mia Leimberg (age 17)

- Clara Marman (age 63), Gabriella's sister

8:53 p.m. The captives have arrived in Israel!

"The Israeli government embraces the 12 abductees - 10 of our citizens and two Thai citizens, who returned to Israeli territory today. Their families were informed by the appointed officials that they are back in Israel. The Israeli government is committed to the return of all abductees and missing persons," read the statement.

The hostages were transferred to three different Israeli hospitals, where they are expected to reunite with their families.

For the first time since the beginning of the war, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad announced that some of the hostages who were released on Tuesday were held by them. It is the second largest terror organization in Gaza, that is fully funded by the Iranian regime.

This interesting development comes after the IDF’s Spokesperson in the Arabic language, Avichay Adraee, said in an interview that 10-month-old baby Kfir Bibas is being held by the PIJ. He was kidnapped from Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7th, along with his 4-year-old brother Ariel and parents Yarden (34) and Shiri (32).  

Overall, terrorists in Gaza are still holding 173 hostages, including 17 foreign nationals (not Israeli). Among the hostages, there are 128 men and 45 women. Six children under the age of 18 and four between the ages 18-19 are still being held captive for more than 53 days.

Israeli efforts to bring back all hostages home are still ongoing through Qatari, Egyptian and American mediation. YNET reported Tuesday night that Israeli officials estimate that it will be very challenging to see the release of additional groups of hostages within the initial 10-day framework that was agreed upon. Israel also told mediators, reportedly, that there is no point in discussions over a new framework before Hamas releases all women children.  

“We will not stop working until we bring the hostages being held by Hamas home,” President Biden tweeted earlier in the day.

This is a developing story and will be updated as new information is provided. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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