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Hamas releases two Israeli women hostages from Gaza as IDF threatens ground invasion to eliminate militants

According to media reports, the two women were identified as Nurit Cooper, 80, and Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, both from Kibbutz Nir Oz and were released from Gaza to Egypt on Monday night.

Written By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Gaza City Updated on: October 24, 2023 7:46 IST
Yocheved Lifshitz and Nurit Cooper (also known as Nurit Yitzhak) who were held hostages by Palestini
Image Source : AP Yocheved Lifshitz and Nurit Cooper (also known as Nurit Yitzhak) who were held hostages by Palestinian Hamas militants

Israel-Hamas war: In a major development, Hamas militants have released two Israeli hostages out of the 222 captives abducted on October 7. According to a report by the Jerusalem Post, the two women were identified as Nurit Cooper, 80, and Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, both from Kibbutz Nir Oz and were released from Gaza to Egypt on Monday night.

However, their husbands, who are also in their 80s, remain in captivity.

“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,” Lifshitz’ daughter, Sharone Lifschitz, said in a statement.

Lifschitz, an artist and academic in London who uses a different spelling for her name, told reporters last week that her parents were peace activists, and her father would drive to the Gaza border to take Palestinians to east Jerusalem for medical treatment. Kindness, she said last week, could somehow save them.

“I grew up, you know, with all these Holocaust stories about how all my uncles’ lives were saved because” of acts of kindness, she said.  “Do I want that to be the story here?” she asked. “Yeah.”

Released them for humanitarian and health reasons: Hamas 

Meanwhile, the militant organisation said that they have decided to release the two elderly women for "humanitarian" and health reasons. "We decided to release them for compelling humanitarian and health reasons," the media reported quoted Hamas spokesman Abu Ubaida as saying.

"Hamas did this despite the occupation committing more than eight violations of the procedures that were agreed upon with the mediating brothers for the occupation to adhere to during this day to complete the handover process,” Ubaida added.

Notably, the major development came nearly a day after 20 trucks of humanitarian aid entered Gaza. Besides, reports also claimed Qatar brokered a deal wherein the militant organisation vowed to release at least 50 hostages. However, the media report confirmed the two elderly who were released, were not part of the deal.

Hamas received nothing in exchange for the release of Americans

Hamas apparently received nothing in exchange for the release of the two hostages, who were freed days after an American woman and her teenage daughter. Hamas and other militants in Gaza are believed to have taken roughly 220 people, including an unconfirmed number of foreigners and dual citizens.

Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas. Iranian-backed fighters around the region are warning of possible escalation, including the targeting of US forces deployed in the Mideast, if a ground offensive is launched in Gaza.

(With inputs from agency)

Also Read: 'If the generator stops...': Gaza doctors implore for urgent help as 130 premature babies are at grave risk

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