IDF Spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari delivered a statement to the media this evening (Monday) on the return of the sixth group of hostages to Israel as well as Hamas' claims that three members of the Bibas family, including a 10-month-old baby and four-year-old boy, were killed while being held as hostages in Gaza.
"A short while ago, Irena and Yelena returned to Israel. At the moment, they are going through a primary medical check, after which they will be transferred to the hospital, where they will meet with their families," Hagari said.
"This evening, we continue to carry out the framework for returning the hostages, as agreed. Dear families, it’s hard to assume the stress and uncertainty you are in. Our hearts are with you. We will update you, and then the public, with any information we hold, in every stage, tonight and in days to come.
He noted that "Hamas still holds 159 hostages that were abducted on the 7th of October. As we explained along the way, this number is being constantly updated, it is based on intelligence, on the number of missing persons, which is also being updated, in accordance with the information and tests available to us. We inform the families, and now I also inform and update the public through the press."
Hagari called on the public to "please avoid spreading rumors and unverified information. Stick with the reports from the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit and official bodies in the State of Israel."
On Hamas' claim that infant Kfir Bibas, his brother Ariel, and their mother Shiri were killed, Hagari said: "We examine the credibility of every information Hamas publishes, even this evening, today, regarding the Bibas family, and are in regular contact with the family."
"The responsibility for the safety of all hostages in the Gaza Strip lays solely on the terror organization Hamasm" he declared. "Hamas endangers the hostages, including children and women, they must be brought home. We act on all operational and intelligence means, in order to bring all the hostages home."
Addressing the latest violations of the ceasefire agreement by Gaza terrorists, Hagari said: "The IDF troops are prepared along the operational pause lines in Gaza. Today, the troops killed three terrorists that violated the conditions of the operational pause, and posed a threat to our forces. Yesterday I reported an additional violation. During the night, we investigated the incident with forces against whom the pause was violated, and understood that our forces operated against the terrorists that threw explosive charges towards them. That is why I report the killing of the terrorists today and yesterday, and the IDF’s responses. The IDF troops operate with determination, and will continue to do so, against every danger to our forces."
"In a joint operation of the IDF, ISA and the Border Police in Jenin, the Yamam (Israel’s Counter Terrorist Unit) fighters killed Muhammad Zbueidy, a high ranked terrorist of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, in the camp. The IDF, along with the security bodies, are prepared and operating in all districts. The safety of our civilians and forces is top priority. We will operate against any threat. The IDF continues to fight and to execute the goals of the war in Gaza.
"The Chief of the General Staff held a situation assessment in the Southern Command today, and updated the operational plans and preparedness for the continuation of the war.
"The IDF is ready today for the continuation of the war.
"I ask you, the public, to continue to follow the Home Front Command instructions, especially during these times, with no sirens heard in the past few days. I urge you to keep following the instructions. Remember this could change in a minute, these instructions save lives, we must not become complacent," the IDF spokesman concluded.