Just days after releasing two American women on Friday, two Israeli hostages who were abducted by Palestinian Islamic terrorist Hamas two weeks ago have been released. On Monday, the families of Nurit Cooper, 79, and Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, received the good news that both women were safely released after they were captured alongside their husbands.
Sadly, their husbands, 85-year-old Amiram Cooper and 83-year-old Oded Lifshitz are still held captive.
The two freed women have been handed over to the Red Cross, as a spokesperson for Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office, representing the Special Envoy for Abducted and Missing Persons, stated, “After being handed over to the IDF forces, they are making their way at this time to a medical center in Israel that was specially organized and prepared to receive them. Their family members will be waiting for them there.”
According to a message shared on a Hamas-affiliated Telegram channel, the release of these hostages on Monday was attributed to humanitarian reasons following mediation by Qatar and Egypt. However, Joe Truzman, a research analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, expressed skepticism at the claims.
“Hamas says it has released two hostages. The group also says the hostages were released due to humanitarian reasons. While this may sound like a credible excuse, it’s not. It’s simply a tactic to create international pressure on Israel to delay a ground incursion into Gaza,” he stated.
Hamas says it has released two hostages. The group also says the hostages were released due to humanitarian reasons. While this may sound like a credible excuse, it's not. It's simply a tactic to create international pressure on Israel to delay a ground incursion into Gaza.
— Joe Truzman (@JoeTruzman) October 23, 2023
The U.S. State Department, represented by spokesperson Matthew Miller, indicated that there were no apparent concessions made by Israel or the United States in exchange for the hostages’ release.
“As far as I’m aware, Hamas is not getting anything in return for the release of these hostages. We have not released any prisoners, and the government of Israel has not released any prisoners. I’m not aware of any release of prisoners,” Miller revealed.
This release follows the recent liberation of two American hostages, Judith and Natalie Raanan, who hail from Evanston, Illinois. The mother-and-daughter duo were in Israel to celebrate a relative’s 85th birthday and partake in the Jewish holiday season.
While the number of Hamas hostages has reduced by four, there are still over 200 hostages held inside Gaza, with more than 10 Americans unaccounted for.