The first group of hostages freed by Hamas this Friday returned safely to Israel, marking the end of the first phase of a historic and meticulously negotiated deal between the parties with the help of foreign mediation.
The civilians, including 13 Israeli women and children, were captured by Hamas during its brutal October 7 attacks on Israel and held in besieged Gaza for 48 days as humanitarian conditions worsened. According to spokesmen for the Kibbutz and Hostage and Missing Families Forum, 12 of them were abducted from the Nir Oz kibbutz.
The freed hostages were handed over first to the Red Cross and then to the Egyptian authorities. They then reached Hatzarim Air Base in Israel, from where they were taken to hospitals for medical treatment.
Along with the Israeli hostages, 11 foreign nationals were also freed: 10 Thai citizens and one Filipino citizen, a spokesman for Qatar’s foreign ministry said.
Israel Defense Forces spokesman Daniel Hagari said all foreign nationals released by Hamas “underwent a preliminary medical examination” when they left Gaza. The group is expected to meet their country’s representatives at the Hatcherim airport and will be taken to the hospital, Hagari added.
Here’s what we know about the freed hostages:
Yafa Aadhaar, 85 years old
Adar is the founder of Kibbutz Nir Oz and the oldest person taken hostage by Hamas on October 7. A video of the woman being taken to Gaza in a golf cart by Hamas fighters went viral shortly after her abduction, the Forum for Disappeared Families and Hostages said.
Kibbutz Nir Oz was devastated during the Hamas attack and a quarter of the community was killed or is still missing. “His eldest grandson, 38-year-old Tamir Adar, a father of two, was also abducted and remains a hostage,” Nir Oz spokesman said.
Margalit Moses, 77 years old
A mother of three and grandmother of 10, she is a retired biology teacher. She is a cancer survivor who has diabetes, “fibromyalgia and takes several additional medications,” according to the Israel Hostage and Disappeared Families Forum. The naturalist was planning to visit Mozambique this winter.
Hana Katzir, 76 years old
She is a member of Kibbutz Nir Oz and the wife of 79-year-old Rami Katsir, who was murdered in her home. “Mother of three, grandmother of six. His son Elad, 47, was abducted and is still in Gaza,” Nir Oz spokesman said.
Adina Moshe, 72 years old
This retired educator and Nir Oz resident is a mother of four and grandmother of 12. Her husband, David (Sayed) Moshe, was assassinated in their home on October 7.
Ruth Munder, 78 years old
Nir Oz resident, retired hairdresser and tailor, Ruth Munder was abducted along with her husband, daughter Keren and only grandchild Ohad. Her son Roy was murdered on October 7, Nir Oz’s spokesman said. Her husband, 78, is still in Gaza.
“She met her husband Avraham at the kibbutz…Ruth is a very talented woman, she is the kibbutz librarian and seamstress. She also knits, paints and sews. She is retired. Ruth attends classes and family trips,” said the Hostage and Missing Families Forum. Said.
Keren Munder, 54 years old
This physical education teacher for children with special needs was born and raised in Nir Oz. He was abducted with his only son, Ohad, and his parents, Ruth and Avraham, a kibbutz spokesman said.
Ohad Munter, 9 years old
A spokesman for the Nir Oz kibbutz said Munder “came to Nir Oz to visit his family” when he was abducted with his loved ones.
Daniel Aloni, 45 years old, and Emilia Aloni, 5 years old
Daniel Aloni was one of three women who appeared in a hostage video released by Hamas late last month. He came to Nir Oz to visit his family and was kidnapped along with his daughter Emilia. Nir Oz’s spokesman said his sister Sharon Aloni-Cuneo and other family members were abducted and remain in Gaza.
On the day of the attack, “Daniel sent a last message to his family and told them that there were terrorists in the house and that he feared they would not survive. Now Daniel and Emilia are on their way to Israel,” the Hostage and Disappeared Families Forum said in a statement.
Doran Katz Asher, 34 years old, Ross Asher, 4 years old, Aviv Asher, 2 years old
Doran visited Nir Oz with his family and was abducted along with other family members, including his two daughters, Aviv and Raz, and Efrat Katz. “They were filmed being taken to Gaza,” said the Hostage and Disappeared Families Forum. Doran lives in Kannot Haddar and works as an accountant.
His cousin, Tori Roberts, he told CNN in October A video has been posted on social media showing two women and girls being held hostage by Hamas fighters at the Nir Os kibbutz in southern Israel. “She looked so horrified and confused and shocked,” her aunt said of Efrat in the video.
Her aunt’s partner, 79, and another relative were also taken hostage, Roberts said. “Those endless thoughts of, ‘Where are they? What are they doing? What are they doing every minute of the day? It can really drive you crazy,'” Roberts said.
Channa Peri, 79 years old
Peri, who lived in Kibbutz Nirim, immigrated to Israel from South Africa in the 1960s. She worked in a grocery store and was the mother of three children, one of whom was murdered on October 7 and the other abducted. “He has diabetes and severe vision loss in one of his eyes,” the Hostage and Disappeared Families Forum said in a statement.
More details about the released foreigners are yet to be provided.
Gelienor “Jimmy” Pacheco
Pacheco, a Filipino citizen, was working as a caretaker in Israel when she was abducted on October 7. Avishai Ben Zvi, the son of Pacheco’s employer, said after his release that he was doing better than expected and had spoken to his wife in the Philippines.
Munkan is one of the 10 published mothers. His mother Pooniyarin Srichan, who lives with her 8-year-old granddaughter in Thailand’s Khon Kaen province, said she cried tears of joy when she heard the news of Munkan’s release.
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