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Emotional moment nine-year-old Israeli reunites with father for the first time after being released by Hamas
25 November 2023, 12:33 | Updated: 25 November 2023, 14:53
Footage has shown the emotional moment Israeli hostages reunited with their family as 14 more captives are set to be released.
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Eight Israeli hostages released by Hamas on Friday were reunited with their loved ones at the Schneider Children's Medical Center in Petah Tikva, near Tel Aviv.
A clip from the hospital showed nine-year-old Ohad Munder running over to his father and embracing him after weeks apart.
He was freed along with his 55-year-old mother, Keren Munder, and his grandmother, Ruti Munder, 78.
The hospital's CEO Dr Efrat Bron-Harlev, said in a press conference: "I was thrilled to be the one to receive four children, three mothers and a grandmother to the best and most caring hands here.
"There are not enough words to express the emotion that we are feeling at this time, together with the families and the entire nation of Israel."
It comes as Hamas is set to hand over 14 more hostages on Saturday in exchange for 42 Palestinian prisoners.
Egyptian security officials said they had recieved a list of hostages due to be released.
To all those calling for #CeasefireNOW. Here’s an idea - Demand Sinwar and his #Hamas henchmen release the hostages and unconditionally surrender. This can secure a ceasefire for the all the people- Israelis and Palestinians. Please don’t expect Israel to sacrifice itself to… pic.twitter.com/qnapTilEqh— Lt. Col. (R) Peter Lerner (@LTCPeterLerner) November 25, 2023
Hamas released 24 hostages in total on Friday. Thirteen were from Israel, with the remainder made up of ten Thais and one Filipino.
Of the Israeli hostages, four are children, and the remaining nine are women. Three of the women are mothers to the released children, and five of the rest are elderly. Some have serious health conditions.
The youngest of the hostages released is a two-year-old girl, and the oldest is an 85-year-old woman.
The freed hostages, who only make up about a tenth of the 240 people in captivity, have been handed over to the Red Cross by Hamas and are now in Israel. Hamas is expected to release 50 hostages in total.
Israel has released 39 Palestinian prisoners into the West Bank in exchange, amid scenes of disorder, and ceased fire temporarily in Gaza.
Meanwhile, 137 trucks of aid entered Gaza on Friday, the largest amount of humanitarian aid since the start of the war.
Dr Bron-Harlev said the freed hostages were in a good condition, and are still under examination.
"Our hearts go to the hostages who are still in Gaza," she added.
A spokesperson for the Israeli ministry of health said of the hostages: "We all anxiously awaited their return and are elated to see the day that they have come home to us."
He added: "This is a complex event, both medically and emotionally."
The moment Israeli hostages returned to Israel
Footage released by the IDF shows the moment the hostages were driven back into Israel in white coaches.
Hamas also released footage on Friday evening showing scared-looking hostages being released from captivity. Some appeared too weak to walk on their own, and had to be carried or supported heavily.
Hamas video of hostages being released
The names of the hostages released on Friday are:
- Margalit Moses, 77
- Adina Moshe, 72
- Danielle Aloni, 45, and her daughter Emilia, 5
- Doron Katz Asher, 34, and her daughters Raz, 4, and Aviv, 2
- Keren Munder, 54, and her son Ohad, 9
- Ruti Munder, 78
- Yaffa Adar, 85
- Channa Perri, 79
- Hanna Katzir, 77, who was said to be held by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a Hamas ally, rather than Hamas themselves
Palestinian Islamic Jihad had earlier falsely claimed that Ms Katzir had been killed in an Israeli airstrike.
Ms Katz Asher, and her daughters Raz and Aviv are German-Israeli dual citizens, as well as Ms Moses.
Ms Katz Asher's husband said he would not celebrate fully until all the hostages were released.
"It is okay to rejoice, and to shed a tear, it is a human thing, but I do not celebrate and will not celebrate until the last one returns," Yoni Asher said.
"There are people whose hearts are broken right now, and I want to make sure all the hostages return. The families of the hostages are not a poster or a slogan, they are real people, and from today they are my new family".
Ms Adar hit the headlines during the hostage capture when she was filmed being taken on a golf buggy. Her dignified appearance in an alarming situation was said to have inspired people around the world.
Her granddaughter told LBC's Andrew Marr this week that she didn't know if her grandmother would be among the hostages released.
She said that Ms Adar was young in spirit, but needed medication that she wouldn't have been able to take with her into captivity.
Confirming the names of the Israeli prisoners who had been released earlier on Friday, a spokesperson for the Israeli government said it "embraces our citizens returning home."
The spokesperson added: "The Israeli government is committed to the return of all abductees and missing persons.
"Our citizens underwent an initial medical examination and their families were informed by the appointed officials that they were back.
"In addition, 11 foreign citizens were released."
Joe Biden said that the released hostages were "the start of a process".
Hamas had previously released four hostages: a mother and a daughter, and two elderly women for "humanitarian reasons and poor health grounds".
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday: "We just completed the return of the first of our hostages: children, their mothers and additional women. Each of them is an entire world.
"But I emphasise to you, the families, and to you, the citizens of Israel: We are committed to returning all the hostages.
"This is one of the aims of the war and we are committed to achieving all the aims of the war."
The Red Cross said its operation to "re-unite hostages and detainees with their families" was under way on Friday evening and it would be a "multi-day" task.
"We are relieved to confirm the safe release of 24 hostages," it said on X.
"We have facilitated this release by transporting them from Gaza to the Rafah border, marking the real-life impact of our role as a neutral intermediary between the parties.
Israeli spokesman: 'When it ends with an Israeli victory we must make sure it never happens again'
"It's a tremendous relief that after enduring weeks of distress, they can finally reunite with their families."
"The Israel Defence Forces salutes and embraces the released hostages upon their return home," Israel's military said.
"The IDF, together with the entire Israeli security establishment, will continue operating until all the hostages are returned home."
Eylon Levy, a spokesman for the Israeli government, told LBC's Tom Swarbrick there would be a "long process of rehabilitation and healing for kids who have literally been in the bowels of hell".
The prisoner exchange means the ground invasion is on hold, with Gaza city cut off from the south of the strip by the Israel Defence Forces.
Qatar said 39 Palestinian prisoners had been released into the West Bank by Israel.
Minibuses transporting the prisoners were seen heading from Ofer prison, in the West Bank. They are thought to be 24 women and 15 teenage boys.
Some of those held were in jail for attempted stabbings, while others are behind bars for acts like throwing stones at Israeli troops.
A number were held in administrative detention, having not even had a trial. None have been convicted of murdering Israelis.
Ugly scenes erupted in the West Bank on Friday as Israel released tear gas amid riotous celebrations at the release of the prisoners.
Some 137 trucks of aid entered Gaza on Friday, as the UN was able to boost supplies during the ceasefire.
The UN said: "Hundreds of thousands of people were assisted with food, water, medical supplies and other essential humanitarian items."
Around 129,000 litres of fuel and four trucks of gas also made the crossing into Gaza.
Hopes that the truce will is develop into a full ceasefire are unlikely to be realised.
Israel is determined to destroy Hamas after the terror group rampaged over the Gaza border wall and massacred more than 1,000 people, kidnapping more than 200 and holding them in the strip.
Levy told LBC the goal was still to "end Hamas".
"It means destroying all of Hamas' infrastructure, all of its rockets, all of its tunnels, going after all of its commanders, all of its terrorists, so that Hamas no longer governs the Gaza Strip," he said.
Mr Netanyahu said on Wednesday he wants to "continue with the goals of the war and we will eradicate Hamas".
The terrorists' health ministry in Gaza has claimed more than 14,000 people have been killed since Israel launched Operation Iron Swords.