Hamas releases two elderly hostages


The Palestinian militant group Hamas has released two more hostages – this time two elderly women from Israel.

Nurit Cooper (79) and Yocheved Lifshitz (85) were released late on Monday evening in Gaza and taken by helicopter to a hospital in Tel Aviv on Tuesday where they were reunited with their families.

Cooper was brought in on a stretcher and Lifshitz in a wheelchair to the hospital in Tel Aviv where family members had gathered.

However, both women’s spouses, Amiram Cooper (84) and Oded Lifshitz (83), are still being held as hostages at this stage.

The two women’s release, like that of the American mother and daughter, Judith Tai Raanan (59) and Natalie Shoshana Raanan (17), was mediated with Hamas leaders with the help of Egypt and Qatar.

Hamas says the two elderly people were released due to “compelling humanitarian reasons”.

A total of 222 people, including many foreigners, were taken hostage during Hamas’s surprise attack on Israel on 7 October. Cooper and Lifshitz were captured on the day in question at their homes on Kibbutz Nir Oz.

Lifshitz tells that she was loaded onto a motorcycle.

“They loaded me sideways onto a motorcycle so I wouldn’t fall, with one terrorist holding me from the front and the other from behind.

“They crossed the border into the Gaza Strip and first detained me in the town of Abesan, which is near Be’eri. After that I don’t know where I was taken.”

The US is now demanding that the Palestinian militant group release the more than 200 other hostages in Gaza before talks on a ceasefire will be considered.

“We have to get those hostages released and then we can talk,” says US President Joe Biden.

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday became the latest foreign leader to visit Israel amid the conflict.

He is expected to express “full solidarity” with Israel and call for the “preservation of the civilian population” in Gaza.