The release of the fifth group of Hamas hostages began on Tuesday evening and the ten hostages who were scheduled to be released have returned to Israel, the IDF confirmed.
The return of the hostages was reportedly delayed when crowds surrounded the Red Cross vehicles in Gaza.
The hostages being freed tonight include nine women and a 17-year-old girl. In addition, two foreign nationals who were held hostage have also been released, according to information given to the IDF by the Red Cross.
Shortly after 11:00 p.m., the ten hostages who were freed from Hamas captivity arrived in Israel.
An elite unit of the IDF and a Shin Bet force escorted them, as well as two Thai citizens who were freed, to Israeli territory. After undergoing an initial assessment of their medical condition, the hostages were flown to the hospitals that received them.
Most of the freed hostages were transferred to Sheba Hospital in Tel Hashomer and the others to Ichilov and Assaf Harofeh hospitals. In the hospitals they will meet with their families for the first time since being freed from captivity, and will receive medical and psychological treatment.
The Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum headquarters published the names of all of the Israeli hostages who are being released tonight.
Ofelia Roitman (77)
Ofelia Roitman from Kibbutz Nir Oz is a loving mom, wife and grandmother.
She has three children and nine grandchildren who are her entire world.
She made Aliyah from Argentina in 1985. She was an educator for twenty years, and for five years she was a principal at Jewish schools in Argentina.
She worked in education in the kibbutz for many years and was active on various committees. A noble and modest woman who loves life and the kibbutz.
Ditza Heiman (84)
Ditza is one of the founders of Kibbutz Nir Oz - she served in the Nahal group, where she met her first husband. She is the bond that connects her family, and is known for her chicken soup, cholent and fruit cakes. Ditza is a family woman, a beloved and loving grandmother. Since her husband passed away, she has lived alone and adopted a cat named Mia.
Rimon Kirsht (36)
36-year-old, loves growing plants, adopting and raising animals, and listening to music.
She practices alternative medicine and reflexology.
Loves rock music – especially Guns N' Roses and U2, as well as Israeli bands HaYehudim and The Witches. She volunteers at Maslan, The Negev’s Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Support Center, where she asists victims of sexual assault, and accompanied such victims to courts and police stations.
Rimon and her husband Yagev got married two years ago and lived in Kibbutz Nirim.
They dedicated their lives to caring for animals – they have five dogs and five cats, most of whom endured abuse. Her husband Yagev was kidnapped along with Rimon on October 7th and remains held captive by Hamas.
Gabriela Leimberg (59)
Immigrated from Argentina in the 1990s. Has one daughter, 17-year-old Mia, who was kidnapped with her.
She’s a devoted mother who dedicates herself fully to her daughter.
Lives in Jerusalem and works as a manager at SHEKEL (Inclusion for People with Disabilities) which provides community services for people with disabilities, has worked with people with disabilities in Israel for years. Runs a day center for people with autism. A woman with a huge heart who is always helpful. A social psychologist by training who gives her entire soul to her work. A caring woman who supports others.
Mia Leimberg (17)
17 years old, 12th-grade student at an arts high school in Jerusalem, a phenomenally talented singer. A devoted and responsible girl, wise, and always willing to help her friends.
Works at a bookshop.
An exceptionally sweet girl, cute. Mia is a wonderful conversationalist who loves learning and exploring.
She and her family have a Shih Tzu dog named Bella who was kidnapped along with them.
Clara Merman (63)
Clara has lived in Nir Yitzhak since 1982. Partner of Luis Har, has two daughters and three grandchildren.
Worked as a kindergarten teacher. Retired but continues working with the elderly, and with at-risk families providing parental guidance. Known for her excellent desserts. Clara is a strong woman who helps everyone who asks her.
She was kidnapped with her partner, Luis, and her brother, Fernando, both remain kidnapped in Gaza.
Her sister, Gabriela, and niece, Mia, were also released today.
Tamar Metzger (78)
In recent years Tamar has been a full-time grandma, devoted to caring for her grandchildren. She has limited mobility and spends a lot of time on the balcony of her small home - with the newspaper, crosswords and cigarettes. She loves her quiet time, reading books and watching soap operas. In the past, she worked in the kibbutz nursery and ran the general store. She was kidnapped with her husband Yoram, who remains in Hamas captivity.
Ada Sagi (75)
Ada is a 75-year resident of Kibbutz Nir Oz, has three children and six grandchildren. She teaches Hebrew and Arabic and seeks out peace and love in all she does. She was supposed to land in London on October 20th to celebrate her 75th birthday.
Noralin "Nataly" Babadilla (60)
A resident of Yahud-Monoson, she traveled on Friday evening with her partner, Gidon Babani, to the home of close friends in Kibbutz Nirim to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Kibbutz.
Noralin has a passion for life, friendships, trips, and dance. She brings joy everywhere she goes.
In the garden of the building in Yehud where she lives, Noralin has her own little spot, where she grows succulents and flowers.
Gideon, her partner, who was murdered on October 7.
Meirav Tal (53)
Resides in Rishon LeZion and visited Yair, her partner, at Kibbutz Nir Oz. The two were kidnapped along with Yair’s children, Yagil and Or, who were released yesterday. Yair remains in Hamas captivity.
This group of ten hostages is being freed after an agreement was reached to extend the hostage deal and ceasefire by two days. 51 Israeli hostages have been freed since Friday under the original agreement.
About 150 people are believed to still be held as hostages in Gaza, out of 240 who were kidnapped on October 7.
The hostages who have been released have been malnourished, often losing over ten pounds during their 50 days in captivity. Families of the freed hostages have described the trauma and ill-treatment their loved ones endured. The father of nine-year-old Emily Hand told CNN that his daughter came back with her head covered in lice, while the family of 84-year-old Elma Avraham said that their mother was "on the brink of death" when she was returned with a body temperature of just 82 degrees Fahrenheit.