Hamas releases 17 hostages in exchange for 39 Palestinians on Sunday

November 26, 2023
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Seventeen hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip were released Sunday as part of the cease-fire and hostage exchange agreement between Israel and the militant group. Israel released 39 Palestinians, all of whom are minors, from its prisons in return, according to a Qatari spokesman.

The hostages freed by Hamas included 4-year-old American citizen Abigail Mor Edan, as well as Hagar Brodutch, 39, and her three children, Ofri, 10, Yuval, 8, and Uriah, 4, the Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum said Sunday.

Abigail ran from Hamas after her parents were murdered on Oct. 7 and was found by Brodutch’s husband, Avihai, and taken to their house. While Avihai was not kidnapped, Abigail was taken along with Hagar Brodutch and her three children.

Image: A Palestinian prisoner, right, hugs a relative
A Palestinian prisoner, right, hugs a relative after detainees were released from Israeli jails and returned to Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on Sunday.Jaafar Ashtiyeh / AFP via Getty Images

Hagar Brodutch moved to Kibbutz Kfar Aza nine years ago, though she grew up in Kibbutz Gvulot. She, Ofri and Yuval each share a love of rock music, the forum said. Ofri, whose birthday was the day after she was kidnapped, even plays guitar.

The Goldstein-Almog family was also released on Sunday, according to the forum. Chen Goldstein-Almog, 48, was released with her children Agam, 17; Gal, 11; and Tal, 8.

Chen’s husband, Nadav, and eldest daughter, Yam, were killed in the Oct. 7 attack, the organization said.

“Chen and her late husband Nadav’s motto has always been never to leave their home in kibbutz Kfar Aza,” the Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum said. “Chen and Nadav met already in high school at Sha’ar HaNegev, and have been together since age 14.”

The forum also reported that Dafna Elyakim, 15, and her 8-year-old sister Ela Elyakim were among the hostages freed. The girls were taken from their homes in Kibbutz Nir Oz.

Both sisters were described as joyful and creative young girls. Dafna loves to sing, make TikTok videos and has a penchant for arts and crafts, while Ela has been dancing since the moment she could walk, the forum said.

Hamas also released Roni Krivoi, 25, who was working on a sound crew at the Supernova festival on Oct. 7 at the time he was taken. The forum described him as “a very family-oriented, friendly, and reliable person.”

In total, 58 hostages have been released from Gaza in the three days of paused fighting so far, including citizens from Thailand, the Philippines and Russia.

Sunday’s release followed a rocky exchange on Saturday that was delayed by hours after Hamas claimed Israel made “several violations of the agreement,” including that Israel was not releasing prisoners in an agreed-upon order and that not enough aid was reaching northern Gaza.

Image: Hila Rotem Shoshani, a released hostage, reunites with her uncle
In this photo provided by the Israeli Army, Hila Rotem Shoshani, a released hostage, reunites with her uncle in Israel on Sunday.The Israeli Army via AP

Eventually, 17 hostages — including 13 Israelis and four Thai nationals — in Gaza were exchanged on Saturday for 39 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. The International Committee of the Red Cross said it facilitated the release of 33 Palestinians to the West Bank.

On Friday, the first day of the prisoner exchange, 24 hostages — including 13 Israelis, 10 Thai nationals and one Filipino citizen — were freed from Gaza in exchange for 39 Palestinians held in Israel.

The temporary cease-fire deal, brokered between the U.S., Qatar, Egypt and Israel, began Friday and is set to end Monday.

Hamas is expected to release at least 50 hostages in exchange for 150 Palestinians being held in Israeli jails by the end of the four-day agreement. Israel has said it would agree to an extra day of a cease-fire for every 10 additional hostages released.

Images: An aid truck moves on a road as Palestinians look on
An aid truck arrived in the southern Gaza Strip on Saturday.Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters

Hundreds of aid trucks will also be allowed to enter Gaza during the truce to bring food, water, fuel and medical supplies to the region.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society said it received 187 aid trucks on Saturday. On Sunday, another 200 trucks were expected to enter Gaza, and the largest number of aid trucks since the start of the war entered northern Gaza, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.



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