War in the Middle East: Daughter of released hostage: Mother seems okay

One of the hostages released by Hamas is doing well, according to her daughter.

War in the Middle East: Daughter of released hostage: Mother seems okay

One of the hostages released by Hamas is doing well, according to her daughter. Yocheved Lifschitz "seems okay," her London-based daughter Sharone Lifschitz told the BBC. "She seems very attentive and very interested in passing on information to families of other hostages she has been with," she said.

The 85-year-old was kidnapped with her husband by the Islamist Hamas from the town of Nir Oz to the Gaza Strip on October 7th. The second hostage released on Monday, a 79-year-old, also lived there. Her husband also remains in Hamas captivity.

Daughter wants to work towards further releases

"I can confirm that my mother, Yochi Lifshitz, was one of the two hostages handed over to the Red Cross this evening," Sharone Lifschitz said, according to a statement released overnight. "While I cannot express in words the relief that she is now safe, I will continue to work towards securing the release of my father and all those still held hostage in Gaza, approximately 200 innocent people."

That night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office announced that the 79 and 85-year-old women had been handed over to Israel's army.

Hamas' military wing had previously said it had released two more hostages in the Gaza Strip. The state-affiliated Egyptian television channel Al-Kahira News reported that the two women had arrived at the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. The station showed footage of them lying in ambulances and being treated. Egyptian medics told the broadcaster that the women's condition was stable. One of the doctors reported that his patient told him that she was happy to be here with them now.

According to Israeli media reports, the grandson of one of the two released hostages said that he and his family were "happy" about his grandmother's upcoming return home. The relatives have already spoken to her. "We hope she's okay."

Release for “humanitarian reasons”

According to Hamas, the release of the two women was brokered by Qatar and Egypt. The hostages were released "despite the crimes of the occupation" for "humanitarian reasons," said Hamas spokesman Abu Obeida on the Al-Qassam Brigades' Telegram channel.

There had previously been media reports about a possible imminent release of 50 hostages. There was initially no confirmation of this from either the US government or the International Red Cross. The New York Times had reported that Israel assumed that Hamas could release around 50 hostages who had not only Israeli but also other citizenship. Israeli media reported, citing a political representative, that they would not take part in a "selection" between foreign and Israeli hostages.

Israel thanks Egypt

Israel's government thanked Egypt and the International Red Cross for their contribution. "We thank Egypt for its help and the Red Cross for its important role in saving lives," it said. The army has also been “very active on all channels” in recent days to secure the release of the two hostages.

Meanwhile, Israel continues to push for the release of the Islamist Hamas hostages from the Gaza Strip, despite its planned ground offensive. “We are acting with every actor to free the abductees,” said Israel’s Energy Minister Israel Katz to the “Bild” newspaper. “We are doing everything we can to get her home.”

Fate of other hostages unclear

There was initially no confirmation from the USA that a large number of hostages might be released in the near future. National Security Council communications director John Kirby said Monday in Washington that he could not comment. In principle, with regard to the negotiations, “at this stage of the process it is not possible to publicly report on the ongoing efforts,” said Kirby. We will continue to work with partners in the region to do everything possible to ensure that the hostages are released.

The Israeli broadcaster i24news, citing the Red Cross, reported that the rescue service was on its way to receive a group of around 50 abductees with dual citizenship. An agreement could be reached within hours if no new obstacles arise, it said.

Terrorists on behalf of Hamas, which rules in the Gaza Strip, carried out a massacre of civilians in Israel on October 7th. More than 1,400 people died during and in the following days. According to the Israeli army, at least 222 others were forcibly taken to the Gaza Strip, including several Germans. A mother and her daughter were unexpectedly released on Friday. Qatar had brokered the release of the two US citizens.