Fourteen Israeli citizens and three foreign nationals, all held hostage by Hamas in Gaza, were transferred to the custody of the Red Cross and then to the Israel Defense Forces early Sunday evening in accordance with the temporary ceasefire deal signed by the terrorists with Israel.
According to a report by Al Arabiya, the transfer into Israeli territory was made this time through the long-unused Karni Crossing due to the “poor health condition of some of them.”
In the last two transfers, and today as well, the hostages were taken first to Hatzerim Air Base, where they receive their first medical evaluation and have time to decompress from the transfer.
One of the freed hostages, 84-year-old Alma Avraham was airlifted directly to Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva, as she is reported to be serious condition.
The agreement called for 13 Israeli hostages to be freed in the third transfer, but dual Russian-Israeli citizen Roni Krivoi was also freed in deference to a request from Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
It also appears that Hamas has responded to the pressure exerted by the US, Qatar and Egypt, and included four-year-old American citizen Abigail Idan, who has often been mentioned by President Joe Biden in his remarks on the hostages.
Nine children were among the group.
The reported list of Israeli hostages set for release in the third group includes:
1. Abigail Idan, 4
2. Ella Elyakim, 8
3. Dafna Elyakim, 15
4. Hagar Brodetz Ama, 40 and her children
5. Ofri Brodetz, 10
6. Yuval Brodetz, 8
7. Oriya Brodetz, 4
8. Chen Goldstein, 48 and her children
9. Agam Goldstein, 17
10. Tal Goldstein, 9
11. Gal Goldstein, 11
12. Alma Avraham, 84
13. Adrian Aviva Siegel, 63
The agreement, brokered by Qatar and Egypt with the strong backing of the United States, calls for three Palestinian Authority terrorists to be released from Israeli prisons for each one of the hostages returned to Israel.
In addition, Israel agreed to allow 200 trucks of humanitarian aid into the enclave daily through the Rafah crossing with Egypt. At least 50 of those trucks – all of them carrying food, water and medical supplies – were to be allowed into northern Gaza, where Israel has largely seized control.
Hamas reportedly set up a roadblock about an hour before the hostage transfer to prevent the trucks from entering northern Gaza – or more accurately, to rob the trucks of their supplies before they reach the Gaza civilians who have yet to evacuate to the south, as the IDF urged them to do.
Families of Hamas abductees with Russian citizenship landed in Moscow on Sunday, where they were met by a team from the Israeli Embassy. The families are expected to meet with Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Bogdanov, Israeli Ambassador to Russia Alex Ben-Zvi and leaders of the Russian Jewish community.
According to a report by Israel’s Channel 12 News, Putin also sent a request to Hamas for the release of seven other abductees with Russian citizenship.
A delegation of senior Hamas officials headed by Mousa Abu Marzouk arrived in Moscow and received a list of eight dual Israeli-Russian nationals whose freedom was requested by the Russian president.
Unconfirmed reports said Sunday night that Hamas has expressed a desire to extend the current pause in fighting; if so, the terror group will have to release a minimum of 10 Israeli hostages each day the temporary ceasefire is in place.
US President Joe Biden said in a news conference Sunday that he planned to speak with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the issue. Biden said he would like to see the pause continue “for as long as hostages are coming out.”