“According to the information provided by the Red Cross, six Israeli hostages were transferred to them and are on their way to Israel,” said the IDF.
JNS Staff Report
November 30, 2023
Hamas freed six more Israelis from captivity in the Gaza Strip shortly before midnight on Thursday, bringing the total number of hostages released on the seventh day of the ceasefire to eight.
The group was handed over by Hamas to the International Committee of the Red Cross and crossed into Israeli territory from Egypt, Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said.
“IDF and Shin Bet forces are now accompanying the six hostages who have returned,” announced Hagari on X (formerly Twitter), adding: “Our forces will escort them until they reach their families in the hospitals.”
Local media identified the hostages released on Thursday night as Nili Margalit, 41; Ilana Gritzewsky, 30; Shani Goren, 29; Sapir Cohen, 29; and siblings Bilal, 18, and Aisha al-Ziadna, 17.
On Thursday afternoon, Hamas had already released Mia Shem, 21, and Amit Soussana, 40. Shem, a dual French citizen, appeared in a hostage video released by Hamas on Oct. 16.
The hostages were transported to hospitals from the Hatzerim Air Force base near Beersheva.
The Israelis freed on Thursday were transferred to the Red Cross at various times and locations because they were being held by terrorists across the coastal enclave, an Israeli official told CNN previously.
Eighty-one Israelis have now been freed since the initial four-day ceasefire started on Nov. 24, along with 23 Thais and one Filipino.
During a press briefing earlier on Thursday night, Hagari noted that overnight, the IDF “insisted” on carrying out the ceasefire-for-hostages arrangement with Hamas.
“We will do so tomorrow as well. The mediators, Qatar and Egypt, are also obligated to carry out the deal, so that the ceasefire can continue,” he said.
“The IDF is ready to resume the fighting. We are prepared to attack at any hour, tonight as well,” warned Hagari.
Overnight Wednesday, Hamas initially released a list of just seven live hostages and three bodies. Israel threatened to renew the fighting in Gaza unless a revised list was received by 7 a.m. Thursday.
A revised list was submitted 20 minutes before the deadline.
An Israeli official told Ynet that the overnight negotiations were “very difficult and nerve-wracking.”
“There was a fight for every name. We are entering very difficult times. Hamas will try to manipulate, intimidate and spread disinformation. We were one step away from canceling the deal,” the official said.
Hamas is “willing to extend the truce” another day and release more hostages on Friday, a source close to the terror group told AFP hours before the extension was due to expire.
“The mediators are currently making strong, intense and continuous efforts for an additional day in the truce and then working to extend it again for other days,” claimed the source.