A several-day truce between Israel and Hamas and an exchange of hostages are underway. The first Israeli families could enjoy the return of their loved ones. – I can feel joy and shed a tear – said the man who got his wife and daughters back. – I will not celebrate until the last hostage returns home – he added. Many families are still waiting for their loved ones to return. “I envy families who will hug their loved ones,” said the mother of one of those taken prisoner by Hamas.
The first group of Israeli hostages returned to their home country on the first day of a planned four-day truce, during which further exchanges are expected to take place. The 13 people freed included four small children and their mothers, as well as five elderly women. They were among approximately 240 people abducted by Hamas on October 7.
In return, 39 Palestinian women and minors held by Israel were released on Friday. This is the first of a group of 150 people who are to be released from Israeli prison under the agreement.
Netanyahu: We are obliged to bring back all hostages
Israeli leaders vowed to release the remaining hostages.
– Children, their mothers and other women. Each of them is a world in itself. We are obliged to bring back all the hostages, the Prime Minister said in a statement Benjamin Netanyahu.
A 9-year-old boy, his mother and grandmother were released. Grandpa in captivity
Initial medical examinations showed that the released hostages were in good physical and mental condition. They were taken to their families.
According to the Times of Israel, three members of the Munder family were among those freed – nine-year-old Ohad, his 55-year-old mother Keren and his 78-year-old grandmother Ruti. The boy’s grandfather is still in Hamas captivity.
Roni Haviv, a relative of the family, said she couldn’t wait until the nine-year-old could get his favorite toy – a Rubik’s cube.
– I’m waiting to see Ohad and I can’t wait to give him a Rubik’s Cube, which he really loved and probably missed very much. It’s the first thing she always takes with her, she said.
“I won’t celebrate until the last hostage comes home.”
– I am glad that I have my family back, I can feel joy and shed a tear. It’s a human thing, said Yonu Katz Asher. His wife Doron and two daughters (Raz and Aviv) were released on Friday.
– I am determined to bring about the resurrection of this family after the terrible trauma and mourning we are going through for the sake of the girls. “I won’t celebrate until the last hostage comes home,” he said.
Israeli authorities hope to free at least 50 hostages in the coming days. If the truce is extended, the number of those released may increase.
“I envy families who will hug their loved ones”
In the families of the hostages, joy was mixed with concern for those who remained in Gaza.
– Emotions are mixed, said Shelly Shem Tov, mother of 21-year-old Omer Shem Tov, who attended the dance festival and was kidnapped by Hamas. He was not among those released on Friday.
– I envy families who will hug their loved ones. I’m sad because Omer is still not coming home, she said in an interview with Israeli television Channel 12.
Main photo source: Nir Keidar / Anadolu / Abaca Press / Forum