Raya Rotem
Raya RotemNo credit

Israel agreed to the release of only 13 hostages and not 14 on Saturday night, even though this involves breaking up a family, contrary to the agreements and promises made by Hamas.

12-year-old Hila Rotem returned to Israel without her mother, Raya, who was left in the hands of Hamas. During the last two days, the Mossad pressed for the release of Hila's mother, but without success.

Also among the 13 freed hostages are the brothers Noam (17) and Alma (13) from Kibbutz Be’eri, whose mother Yonat Or was murdered during the Hamas attack on October 7. Their father was kidnapped with them but remained in Hamas captivity.

Maya Regev, 21, the first hostage from the party in Re’im to be released from captivity in Gaza, was released without her brother, Itay, who remained in the hands of Hamas.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden held two phone calls on Saturday with the Emir of Qatar and the Prime Minister of Qatar and asked them to pressure Hamas to go ahead with the release of the hostages, after Hamas delayed the release for hours. At the same time, American representatives in the region also talked with the parties.

Earlier, IDF Spokesman Daniel Hagari said, "We need to be patient. We are handling an outline via mediators with a brutal terrorist organization. Nothing is final until it actually happens. Dear families, we see the great stress you are dealing with during these hours of waiting and uncertainty. Our hearts are with you. We must be patient in spite of all the pressure. We will notify you first and then notify the public via the media. We will notify you first of every development and then notify the public via the media."