Hamas Releases Two Elderly Israeli Hostages, Including 85-Year-Old Grandma

Reuters / Handouts
Reuters / Handouts

Two female Israeli hostages held by Hamas militants in Gaza were released on Monday, an Israeli official confirmed to The Daily Beast.

The hostages, Nurit Cooper, 79, and Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, were handed over to Israeli Defence Forces, and were making their way to a medical center in Israel, an official from the Prime Minister's Office on behalf of the Special Envoy for Abducted and Missing Persons told The Daily Beast.

There, they will meet their family members, the official said.

The two were kidnapped from their homes in Kibbutz Nir Oz when Hamas terrorists attacked Israel earlier this month.

Their husbands Amiram Cooper, 85, and Oded Lifshitz, 83, are still in Hamas’ custody, the official added.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) confirmed Monday that the organization “facilitated the release of 2 more hostages, transporting them out of #Gaza this evening.”

“Our role as a neutral intermediary makes this work possible & we are ready to facilitate any future release. We hope that they will soon be back with their loved ones,” the ICRC added.

A spokesperson from the Prime Minister’s Office said that Egypt had assisted in the rescue. The pair were reportedly released in negotiations mediated by Qatar, according to reports from Fox News and CNN.

“The Government of Israel, the IDF and the entire security establishment will continue to operate with the best of their abilities and efforts in order to locate all of the missing and return all of the abductees home,” a spokesperson from the Prime Minister’s Office said.

In an earlier statement shared to Telegram, the Al-Qassam Brigades identified the two hostages released as 85-year-old Yocheved Lifshitz and 79-year-old Nurit Itzhak. Social media from each of the hostage's relatives suggest they were abducted with their spouses, who are presumably still being held by Hamas.

Yocheved and her husband were described as advocates for the Palestinian people in a Facebook post by their grandson, Daniel.

In a statement on their website pleading for the release of the couple, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) said Yocheved’s husband, Oded, “worked for decades for peace and the recognition of Palestinian rights.”

“In recent years he was among the volunteers of the On the Way to Recovery, an association that transports Palestinian patients for treatment in Israeli hospitals. Every week, he went out in his car to the Erez checkpoint to transport sick residents of Gaza for treatment in the hospitals in Israel,” the NUJ said.

In a Facebook post a few days after the Oct. 7 attack, Nurit's daughter said that the 79-year-old had gone missing with her husband.

“We don’t have clue about them or their whereabouts. No one has been found in their home, the house is ruined like a Hurricane storm passed across it. No one saw them during the massacre. We searched all the pictures and videos on the internet and the social networks and still don’t have a bit of a clue.”

As of Sunday, more than 200 hostages were reported to be held by Hamas in Gaza, according to the Israeli government.

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