Photo Credit: courtesy
Mia Shem, 21, upon her arrival at the Hatzerim Air Base on November 30, 2023, meeting her mother and brother.

Two Israeli citizens kidnapped by Hamas on October 7th and dragged into Gaza have been released and were making their way to the Hatzerim Air Base in southern Israel, where they will undergo initial evaluations before being taken to a hospital.

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French-Israeli dual national Mia Shem, 21, was seen receiving medical attention in an October 16 Hamas video after she was kidnapped from the Nova music festival in Kibbutz Re’im. Amit Soussana, 40, was abducted from her home in Kfar Aza by the terrorists during their barbaric massacre.

Amit Soussana, 40, arrives in Israeli territory November 30, 2023.

Two teenagers from the Bedouin city of Rahat — Aisha al-Ziadna, 17, and her brother Bilal, 18 — are also set to be released Thursday night as part of the seventh round of releases in exchange for three times as many convicted Palestinian Authority terrorists imprisoned in Israel. The two Bedouin teens were kidnapped along with their father Yousef, 49, and their brother Hamza, 21, while at work at Kibbutz Holit. The condition and whereabouts of Yousef and Hamza remain unknown.

In addition, two Russian Israeli nationals are expected to be released from captivity in Gaza by Hamas on Thursday night, in deference to a request by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

Transfer Made Near Border Fence with Northern Gaza
Shem and Soussana reached Israeli territory at around 5 pm Thursday; they were met at the transfer point near the Israeli border fence with northern Gaza by an elite IDF special forces unit and a Shin Bet intelligence team. Both young women appeared very pale in the initial photos snapped by Israeli photographers as seen on a broadcast by Israel’s Channel N12 News.

According to the Abu Ali Express website, the military wing of Hamas handed the two hostages over to the custody of Red Cross representatives in the middle of Gaza City, in “Palestine Square.” Social media footage made it clear the two women were surrounded by a jeering, laughing crowd the entire time.

“The government of Israel embraces the two hostages who have just been released,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a brief statement upon their arrival.

“The government of Israel is committed to the return of all of the hostages and missing. The government, together with all of the security agencies, will assist them and their families,” the statement concluded.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.