Israel is preparing to welcome back the sixth wave of hostages from Gaza: 12 hostages were released on Wednesday evening from Hamas captivity and were handed over to the Red Cross before later arriving in Israeli territory.
Two dual Russian-Israeli citizens, Yelena Trupanob (50) and Irena Tati (73), were released as a gesture by Hamas to Russian President Vladimir Putin. IDF special forces and ISA forces accompanied the two released hostages inside Israeli territory. After the released hostages undergo an initial medical assessment, IDF soldiers will continue to accompany them to hospitals, where they will be reunited with their families.
Footage from the transfer shows the two hostages mobbed by a large crowd of Gazans as masked terrorists transfer them to representatives of the Red Cross.
After a long delay, the ten Israeli hostages were handed over to the Red Cross. Four Thai nationals have also been freed.
At around 12:20 a.m. Israel time, the IDF and the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) confirmed that the freed hostages are in Israeli territory.
"IDF special forces and ISA forces are currently with the 14 released hostages - 10 Israelis and 4 Thai nationals - inside Israeli territory. After the released hostages undergo an initial medical assessment, IDF soldiers will continue to accompany them to hospitals, where they will be reunited with their families," said an IDF statement.
"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," it added.
The freed hostages are:
Yelena Trupanob (50) and Irena Tati (73)
The entire family immigrated together from Russia to Israel. Irena has worked all her life as a doctor, and Yelena works for the company "Nirlat".
On October 7th, both Irena and Yelena were kidnapped from their home in Kibbutz Nir Oz, along with Sasha (28), Yelena's son, and his girlfriend Sapir Cohen (29), who are still being held captive by Hamas. On the same day, Yelena's husband, Vitaly Trupanob, was murdered.
Gali Tarshansky (13)
Gali is a very sensitive girl and a ball of energy who makes those around her happy. She loves dancing, music, and Marvel movies.
Gali is courageous, constantly pushing herself forward, never giving up on what she wants.
Loves to spend time with her dad Ilya off-roading in the fields.
Gali is a volleyball player on the “Hapoel Ashkelon” team, her mother describes her as a real team player.
Known for spreading joy, she's loved animals since childhood and visits the kibbutz petting zoo daily.
Gali was kidnapped from the safe room of her home in Kibbutz Be’eri, where she hid with her older brother Lior (16) who was murdered.
Ofir Engel (17)
A 17-year-old child prodigy. Always ready to help everyone and inspire others to join him.
Loves basketball and plays on the Ashkelon Regional Council team.
Lives with his family in Kibbutz Ramat Rachel. On October 7th, Ofir was visiting his girlfriend at her home in Kibbutz Be'eri. That day, he was kidnapped along with his girlfriend's father Yossi Sharabi - who remains in Hamas captivity - and their neighbor Amit Shani.
Amit Shani (16)
Amit is a quiet and very intelligent boy who never raises his voice at others.
He studies cinema at his high school. Amit has many hobbies, loves the sea and engages in several sports. He surfs (his surfboard was taken on October 7), sails, rides a skateboard and carver, and is a die-hard Juventus F.C. fan. He also plays the guitar and is a fan of Israeli hip hop.
Kidnapped from his mother’s house in Kibbutz Be’eri, along with Ofir Engel (the neighbor’s boyfriend) and neighbor Yossi Sharabi who is still held captive by Hamas.
Liam Or (18)
His family describes him as a smiling and sensitive boy, funny and honest - salt of the earth. He worked as a kindergarten teacher in the kibbutz, a job where he could convey his considerable sensitivity, his empathy and attention to words, non-verbal cues, and the heart. Liam, a supporter of Hapoel Tel Aviv never missed a game and was also a chess champion.
Itay Regev (18)
18-year-old Itay loved life and connected with everyone he met.
Having just finished high school, he enjoyed spending time with friends and parties, commitments-free.
An accomplished athlete, Itay played competitive handball until 10th grade in teams like Ramat Hasharon and Maccabi Herzliya. A fan of Beitar Jerusalem F.C. and Barcelona F.C.
He’s charming and a real prankster.
He shared a close bond with his sister Maya who was kidnapped alongside him from the party in Re’im. Maya was released on Saturday.
Until the day of the party, the family was in Mexico. Itay was not originally intended to be at the party, but Maya acquired a ticket for him during their time in Mexico.
Raaya Rotem (54)
A dedicated mother who devotes all her energy toward caring for her only daughter Hila (13).
Born and raised in Kibbutz Be’eri, Raaya works in the local printing factory and holds a degree in Chinese acupuncture. She was kidnapped from their kibbutz home alongside her daughter Hila and Hila’s friend Emily Hand (9), both of whom have returned from Hamas captivity in recent days.
Raz Ben-Ami (57)
57 years old, family-oriented, full of creativity and always positive.
Raz is family-oriented, incredibly creative, and consistently positive.
In recent years, she has dabbled in several artistic endeavors: painting, fimo jewelry, beaded necklaces, dream catchers, and macramé. Raz has recently started volunteering in the kibbutz with the elderly doing handcrafts. Her and her family’s home is full of potted plants.
Over the past 13 years, she has been dealing with growths in her brain and spinal lesions.
Despite experiencing severe pain, she never complains. Alongside her physical struggles, Raz insists on cooking Friday night meals and spending time with her family every Friday.
She was kidnapped from her home in Kibbutz Be’eri together with her husband Ohad who is still held captive by Hamas.
Yarden Roman Gat (36)
A 36-year-old woman, full of compassion and empathy, and loved by everyone.
Married to Alon and a mother to Gefen (3) and when asked how she would define herself, she answers first and foremost: "Motherly".
Yarden is a physiotherapist with a master's degree in gerontology, and volunteers in her free time as a caregiver for the elderly in the kibbutz.
She loves nature, used to be a climber and continues to hike in Israel and abroad.
On Black Saturday, Alon, Yarden and Gefen were taken from Alon's family home in Kibbutz Be'eri.
They were put in a van headed towards the border and at some point managed to jump and escape.
Terrorists chased them, at which point Yarden handed Gefen over to Alon who managed to flee with the girl in his arms, thereby saving her life.
Liat Atzili (49)
49 years old, an educator in a school in the Gaza envelope and a youth guide at “Yad Vashem”.
Married to Aviv and a mother of three children: Ofri (22), Neta (20) and Aya (18).
Born in Israel in Kibbutz Shomrat. Liat loves India, traveled there with her husband before the kids were born, and later traveled there together with the kids. Liat likes to travel to wild places with her family, and experience the nature and the wildlife.
Liat and her husband Aviv were kidnapped from their home in Kibbutz Nir Oz. Aviv remains in Hamas captivity.
Moran Stela Yanai (40)
A talented jewelry designer who has just begun her career in jewelry design.
Kidnapped while partying at the Re’im music festival where she was selling her designs.
In the meantime, no further agreements have been reached regarding additional days of the ceasefire in return for the release of hostages, but the Qatari Foreign Ministry told CNN that his government is "very optimistic" regarding the extension of the pause. According to him, an announcement on the matter can come within hours.
Earlier on Wednesday, Hamas claimed that three of the four members of the Bibas family, who were kidnapped on October 7, are dead.
According to Hamas, 10-month-old Kfir Bibas and his four-year-old brother Ariel were killed in an Israeli airstrike along with their mother, Shiri. If the terrorist organization is to be believed, the only surviving member of the family is Yarden Bibas, the boys' father and Shiri's husband.
The IDF spokesperson said in response to Hamas' claims: "During the Hamas massacre of October 7, the Bibas family, including 10-month-old Kfir Bibas, his 4-year-old brother Ariel Bibas, and their mother Shiri Bibas — were kidnapped alive into Gaza."
"The barbarism and cruelty of Hamas is on full display to the world. IDF representatives spoke with the Bibas family following the recent reports and are with them at this difficult time. The IDF is assessing the accuracy of the information.
"Hamas is wholly responsible for the security of all hostages in the Gaza Strip. Hamas must be held accountable. Hamas’ actions continue to endanger the hostages, which include nine children. Hamas must immediately release our hostages.
"The IDF, along with other security agencies, will continue to accompany the Bibas family, as well as all families of the hostages and missing persons," the IDF statement concluded.