Two mothers and nine children, all from Kibbutz Nir Oz, were handed over by their terrorist captors to representatives of the Red Cross in Gaza early Monday night during the fourth release of Israeli hostages by Hamas — but 10-month-old baby Kfir was not among them.
The Israeli hostages who were freed Monday night included: Sharon (mother) and Emma and Yuli Cunio (twin children); Karina (mother), Mika (child), Yuval (child) Engel; Amit Shani (child); Sahar and Erez Calderon (both children); Or and Yagil Ya’akov (both children).
It was not until 10:50 pm Monday night that the hostages reached the safe arms of IDF and Shin Bet intelligence agents. Here’s the statement by IDF and Shin Bet:
The released hostages are being accompanied by IDF forces and are now in
Israeli territory. IDF special forces and ISA forces are currently accompanying 11 released hostages in Israeli territory. After they undergo an initial medical assessment of their health, our forces will accompany them until they are reunited with their families.
The Israel Defense Forces salutes and embraces the released hostages upon their return home. The IDF, together with the entire Israeli security establishment, will continue operating until all the hostages are returned home.
The IDF Spokesperson reiterates the importance of demonstrating patience and sensitivity during this time out of respect for the released hostages and their families.
Footage of the handover to the Red Cross from Hamas showed eight-year-old Yuval Engel being transferred in a wheelchair; it’s not yet clear why, although it appeared from the footage that the child’s left leg was in a plaster cast.
It was also reported that the handover site from Hamas to the Red Cross had been changed at the last minute due to the mobs that gathered at the initial location, accounting for at least some of the hours-long delay. Egyptian security personnel entered the enclave personally and joined the Red Cross representatives to ensure there would be a safe passage out of Gaza.
Here’s a quick video of the Goldstein-Almog family’s return to Israel from Hamas captivity yesterday, with the mother Chen and the children Agam, Gal and Tal in an IAF helicopter.
The captives’ initial journey through Gaza, albeit in clearly identifiable Red Cross vehicles, wasn’t easy. Arabic-language video clips posted social media showed mobs of jeering, chanting and yelling so-called innocent Gaza civilians swamping the vehicles. The same scene took place during the first and second hostage release, with the captives later reporting they were terrified, believing they were going to be lynched.
Unlike previous hostage releases, the families of the freed hostages were waiting for their loved ones at Ichilov Medical Center in Tel Aviv, where they are undergoing an initial medical evaluation.
According to the Hebrew-language Ynet news outlet, baby Kfir Beibas, his four-year-old brother Ariel, his mother Shiri and father Jordan are all being held by the Popular Front terrorist faction in the Khan Younis section of Gaza.
Another group of hostages was being held by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization, another Iranian-backed group allied with Hamas.
No one from the Beibas family was among the 11 Israeli hostages released Monday night in exchange for 33 convicted Palestinian Authority terrorists serving time in Israeli prisons.
“The Israeli government holds Hamas entirely responsible for their well-being and fate, expecting Hamas to secure their return,” IDF Arabic language Spokesperson Avichay Adraee warned in a tweeted statement. The warning was repeated and emphasized shortly after in a broadcast statement by IDF Spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari.
After 52 days in captivity, baby Kfir remains the youngest child still held captive after he was abducted during the October 7th invasion and massacre in southern Israel by Hamas, allied terrorist factions and yes, even so-called “innocent” Gaza civilians.
Hamas has reportedly agreed to a two-day extension of the temporary ceasefire (“hudna” in Arabic); however, the terrorist organization has played myriad games with the lists, times and terms of the agreement up to this point and it is not unlikely that Israelis will see more of the same, even if the extension takes place.
About 150 people remain hostages in Gaza, including seven Israeli children in captivity:
Kfir Beibas – 10 months old
Ariel Beibas – 4 years old
Gali Tarshansky – 13 years old
Amit Shani – 16 years old
Maya Leimberg and Aisha Alziadna – 17 years old
Ofir Engel – turned 18 while in captivity
Liam Orr and Itay Regev – 18
“In order to extend the pause, Hamas has committed to releasing another 20 women and children over the next two days,” US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Monday from the White House. “We would, of course, hope to see the pause extended further, and that will depend upon Hamas continuing to release hostages.”