Israeli authorities reported on Monday night that two of the 222 prisoners taken hostage by Hamas on October 7 have been safely evacuated to Egypt after being freed from captivity.
The 80-year-old Nurit Cooper and 85-year-old Yocheved Lifshitz, both inhabitants of Kibbutz Nir Oz, were identified as the liberated hostages and were given to the ICRC.
Their trek to the Rafah crossing was organized by the ICRC, and Israeli security personnel greeted them there. It’s crucial to highlight that their husbands, who were also hostages and were in their 80s, are still held captive.
The spokesperson for Hamas’ armed wing, Abu Ubaida, initially made the announcement of the release. This declaration came when 20 trucks providing aid entered Gaza at the same time.
The Wall Street Journal says that the release of those prisoners fell through because Hamas requested fuel delivery into Gaza, despite reports to the contrary that Qatar had assisted in freeing about 50 additional hostages with foreign passports. The two women who were freed in this case don’t have two citizenships.
In a tense and unsettling situation, the liberation of these two hostages offers a glimpse of optimism. The international community is still deeply concerned about the fate of the remaining hostages as well as the overall dynamics of the crisis in the area.