Two Israeli women were returned to Israel on Thursday evening, as part of the 7th consecutive day of hostages being released by Hamas in exchange for a pause in the fighting and the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jail.
Amit Soussana (40) and Mia Schem (21) were handed over by the terrorists to the Red Cross in front of Palestinian crowds in Gaza City. They were then delivered to IDF soldiers. They are expected to reunite with their families at the hospital.
Around midnight local time, the IDF announced that six additional newly released Israeli hostages were on their way the hospitals in Israel. They are expected to reunite with their family there.
Among them are:
Sapir Cohen (26)
Shani Goren (29)
Ilana Gritzewsky (30)
Nili Margalit (41)
Aisha Alziadna (17) and Bilal Alziadna (18)
Aisha and Bilal are two Bedouin siblings, residents of the southern city of Rahat. Their brother, Hamza (22), and their father, Yusuf (53), were left behind in captivity.
According to channel News 12, Hamas released 113 hostages so far. Israel is waiting to receive a new list of hostages due to be released on Friday, as part of an 8th batch. Hamas reportedly told Qatari mediators that these are the last hostages held by them, and that they will have to contact other groups in Gaza who are holding more hostages.
The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said it is “committed to the return of all hostages and missing persons.”
During the night, Israel released 30 more Palestinians prisoners who were involved in violence and terrorist activities, as per the agreement that has been negotiated. The detainees arrived in Ramallah in a bus and were welcomed by Palestinian crowds holding Hamas flags.
CNN quoted an Israeli official explaining that the hostages were being held in different locations in the Gaza Strip and, therefore, their release needed to take place at different times.
Schem, who holds French citizenship, was kidnapped from the Nova music festival near the Gaza Strip on Oct. 7. She was the first Israeli hostage who appeared in a short video that was published by the terror group from Gaza following the attack. In the video, Schem was seen being treated for an arm injury, before explaining that she underwent surgery and had received medicine. At the end of the video, she asked to be returned home to her family.
Her release came after a dramatic day which almost led to a resumption of the fighting between Israel and Hamas.
The terror group waited until the very last moment – shortly before 7 a.m. Israel time on Thursday – to send out the list of hostages who were due to be released this evening.
The initial list was deemed unacceptable by Israel, as it doesn't reflect the terms of the framework that was agreed upon. However, just before the deadline expired, Hamas sent another list containing eight women and children and three bodies, which was accepted by the Israeli war cabinet. The reason Israel agreed to eight, instead of ten, hostages was that Hamas released two Israeli women with Russian citizenship the day prior, Channel 12 news reported.
Israeli officials said that as soon as Hamas stops releasing more hostages, Israel Defense Forces will end the humanitarian pause and resume the fighting to eliminate the Hamas regime in Gaza.
According to reports, Egyptian and Qatari negotiators are investing diplomatic efforts to prolong the truce in Gaza for two more days and bring about the release of more hostages.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.