- Two older adult hostages were released by Hamas on Monday, October 23.
- Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, and Nurit Cooper, 79, were taken October 7 during the Hamas terror attacks.
- In the photos, Lifshitz appears to shake the hand of one of the militants.
Hamas released two hostages on Monday, October 23. Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, and Nurit Cooper, 79, were taken hostage on October 7 after militants attacked kibbutz Nir Oz.
The two were photographed being escorted out by Hamas militants into the custody of the Red Cross. They were treated in ambulances at the Rafa border crossing with Egypt and then went to a Tel Aviv hospital to be reunited with family.
Their release was bittersweet for Lifshitz’s daughter, Sharone Lifschitz, who spells her name differently than her parents. She called her mother’s release a “small ray of light” in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
Lifschitz’s father and Yocheved Lifzhitz’s husband, Oded Lifshitz, along with Nurit Cooper’s husband, Amiram Cooper, are still being held by Hamas, along with an estimated 218 hostages.
Two Americans, Judith and Natalie Raanan, a mother and daughter who live in Evanston, Illinois, were released by Hamas on Friday.
Sharone Lifschitz described her parents to CNN as peace activists who drove children in Gaza to Israeli hospitals for treatment.
Their grandson, Daniel Lifshitz, elaborated on their activism in an interview with Reuters.
“For more than a decade, they took … sick Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, not from the West Bank, from the Gaza Strip every week from the Erez border to the hospitals in Israel to get treatment for their disease, for cancer, for anything,” Daniel told Reuters.
In an apparent video from the women’s release seen by Reuters, Yocheved appears to say to the Hamas militant either “salam,” according to Reuters, or “shalom,” according to a reporter from The Atlantic, which means peace in Arabic and Hebrew, respectively.
Daniel Lifschiz told CNN that he has spoken to his grandmother at the hospital in Tel Aviv and that she can walk and talk. Additional information on the condition of the women was not immediately available. The Israel Defense Forces did not immediately respond to additional information requests.
Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas. Iranian-backed fighters around the region are warning of a possible escalation, including targeting US forces deployed in the Mideast, if a ground offensive is launched in Gaza.
The US has told Iranian-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon and other groups not to join the fight. Israel and Hezbollah have traded fire almost daily across the Israel-Lebanon border, and Israeli warplanes have struck targets in the occupied West Bank, Syria, and Lebanon in recent days.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said there has been an uptick in rocket and drone attacks by Iranian-backed militias on US troops in Iraq and Syria, and the US was “deeply concerned about the possibility for any significant escalation” in the coming days.
He said US officials were having “active conversations” with Israeli counterparts about the potential ramifications of escalated military action.
The US advised Israeli officials that delaying a ground offensive would give Washington more time to work with regional mediators on the release of more hostages, according to a US official.
Israeli tanks and ground forces have been massed at the Gaza border, and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told troops there Monday to keep preparing for an offensive “because it will come.” He said it would be a combined air, land, and sea offensive, but he did not give a timeframe.
A ground offensive is likely to dramatically increase casualties in the deadliest of five wars fought between Israel and Hamas since the militant group took power in Gaza in 2007.
Over 1,400 people in Israel have been killed — mostly civilians slain during the initial Hamas terror attacks. At least 222 people were captured and dragged back to Gaza, including foreigners, the military said Monday, updating a previous figure.
More than 5,000 Palestinians, including some 2,000 minors and about 1,100 women, have been killed, the Hamas-run Health Ministry said Monday. That includes the disputed toll from an explosion at a hospital last week. The toll has climbed rapidly in recent days, with the ministry reporting 436 additional deaths in just the last 24 hours.
"Не нужно додумывать слишком много. Так вы создаете проблемы, которых изначально не было. Фридрих Ницше"