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Updated Oct 24, 2023, 7:26am EDT
securityMiddle East

‘A hell that we’d never imagined’: Hamas releases two more hostages

Al-Qassam Brigades, military wing of Hamas/Handout via REUTERS
Hamas/Handout via REUTERS
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One of the two elderly Israeli women Hamas freed on Monday has spoken about her experience of being seized and taken to Gaza during the Oct. 7 attack, while more than 200 others remain in captivity.

Hamas said Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, and 79-year-old Nurit Cooper, both from the Nir Oz kibbutz, were released for “compelling humanitarian and health reasons.” They were freed days after the release of the first two hostages — mother and daughter, Judith and Natalie Raanan, who are American-Israeli citizens.

“I went through a hell that we’d never imagined. They rampaged through the kibbutz,” Lifshitz said at a press conference.

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She described being beaten with sticks and taken away by motorcycle into a sprawling “spiderweb” of tunnels in the Gaza Strip. “The treatment towards us was good,” she said of the medical care, adding that the captors “took care of all of our needs, this must be said to their credit.”

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Lifshitz and Cooper’s husbands, who are both in their 80s, remain in captivity. They are among over 200 hostages still in Gaza, according to Israeli officials. Many of those in captivity are dual citizens that hold American, British, or French passports.

“The Government of Israel, the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] 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,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesperson said.

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The Egyptian government and the Red Cross helped faciliate this latest hostage release, which came hours after Hamas confirmed that a second convoy of aid trucks was able to enter Gaza.

The international community has decried Israeli attempts to choke the strip of humanitarian aid and supplies as Israeli officials debate whether to invade the territory.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Hamas appeared to be negotiating the release of 50 dual-citizen hostages, but a deal fell through after Israel refused to allow the delivery of fuel into Gaza. Israel has said that it will not allow fuel supply until all hostages have been released.

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