Six Brits still missing after Hamas attack, minister reveals after two Israeli hostages are freed

24 October 2023, 08:14 | Updated: 24 October 2023, 09:29

Two female hostages have been freed by Hamas
Two female hostages have been freed by Hamas. Picture: Handout

By Asher McShane

Six Brits are still being held hostage by Hamas after the terrorist incursion into Israel on October 7.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Treasury minister Victoria Atkins told LBC this morning: "Things are moving very quickly on the ground. At the moment we know there are approximately six British nationals who are missing."

Her comments come after two elderly women were released by Hamas.

Nurit Cooper, 79, and Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, two Israeli women, were released on grounds of poor health, Hamas said. Their husbands are still being held hostage.

Ms Cooper and Ms Lifshitz are the third and fourth hostages to be released by Hamas, after a mother and daughter were let out on Friday evening.

Freed: Yocheved Lifschitz (L) and Nurit Cooper
Freed: Yocheved Lifschitz (L) and Nurit Cooper. Picture: Social Media

Ms Lifshitz's daughter Sharone, who lives in London, is flying to Israel to meet her mother.

"While I cannot put into words the relief that she is now safe, I will remain focused on securing the release of my father and all those, some 200 innocent people, who remain hostages in Gaza," she said in a statement.

Sharone’s father, Oded Lifschitz, a veteran Israeli journalist, was captured by Hamas with along with his wife.

Hamas hostage shakes hand with militant on release

Their grandson said that the Lifschitzes were human rights activists who helped people from Gaza get medical treatment.

"They are human rights activists, peace activists for all their life," said Daniel Lifshitz.

"For more than a decade, they took... sick Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, not from the West Bank, from the Gaza Strip every week from the Erez border to the hospitals in Israel to get treatment for their disease, for cancer, for anything."

The pair were released and sent to a medical centre.
The pair were released and sent to a medical centre. Picture: Getty

A spokesperson from Israel's Prime Minister's Office issued a statement following the women's release on Monday night.

"The Special Envoy for Abducted and Missing Persons updated that today (Monday) Nurit Cooper (79) and Yocheved Lifshitz (85) were released from the hands of the terrorist organisation Hamas.

"The two were kidnapped during the murderous attack on Saturday (07.10.23) from their homes in Kibbutz Nir Oz. Amiram, the 85-year-old husband of Cooper, and Oded, the 83-year-old husband of Lifshitz, who were kidnapped along with them, are still being held by the cruel terrorist organization along with the other abductees, and we will continue to work in every way for their return.

"The IDF and the security forces have worked hard in the last few days in all channels to bring about their release and to overcome the many difficulties set by Hamas.

"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. We thank Egypt for its assistance, and the Red Cross for their important role as life savers. The Government of Israel, the IDF and the entire security establishment will continue to operate with the best of their abilities and efforts in order to locate all of the missing and return all of the abductees home."

Confirming the news earlier on Monday evening, the Red Cross said in a statement: “We facilitated the release of 2 more hostages, transporting them out of Gaza this evening.

“Our role as a neutral intermediary makes this work possible are we are ready to facilitate any future release.

“We hope that they will soon be back with their loved ones.”

Judith and Natalie Raanan were released on Friday.
Judith and Natalie Raanan were released on Friday. Picture: Alamy

Read more: Israel releases unedited bodycam footage of Hamas attacks to prove ‘magnitude of atrocities committed’

Read more: Sunak says Israel not to blame for missile that killed hundreds at a hospital - which was launched from inside Gaza

Hamas has been keeping more than 200 people in total hostage since its most recent conflict with Israel started earlier this month.

It comes after US President Joe Biden suggested he may be willing to support a ceasefire in Gaza if all hostages are released.

Asked whether he would support calling a ceasefire in exchange for hostages, he said: “We should have those hostages released and then we can talk.”

Mike Katz, Chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, told LBC: “The first line of anything in this sanction has to be: bring these hostages home."

Judith and Natalie Raanan were also released by Hamas on Friday.
Judith and Natalie Raanan were also released by Hamas on Friday. Picture: Handout

“We are still talking about some British citizens, as well as Israeli citizens, who are somewhere in Gaza experiencing God knows what.

“I shudder to think if they are still alive. That has to be the first line before we actually talk about the long-term resolution which we obviously have to consider.”

It comes after American mother and daughter Judith and Natalie Raanan were freed by Hamas on Friday after the group said it was letting them go for humanitarian reasons, as part of an agreement with the Qatari government, which has significant influence with the Palestinian group.

The Israeli armed forces said that they received the Raanans "at the border of the Gaza Strip" before taking them to a military base in central Israel, where they were set to be reunited with their family members.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Yvette Cooper has dismissed claims made by James Cleverley on LBC

Yvette Cooper dismisses claims migrants are sitting in France 'waiting for Labour government'

Yvette Cooper slammed Just Stop Oil as 'pathetic'

Yvette Cooper slams 'pathetic' Just Stop Oil as she brands Stonehenge stunt a 'total disgrace'

James Cleverly and Yvette Cooper clashed on immigration

Labour will open door to 100,000 more migrants, James Cleverly claims, as Yvette Cooper accuses him of lying

James Cleverly and Yvette Cooper on LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast.

Labour won't get rid of 'incredibly expensive' Bibby Stockholm on day one, says Yvette Cooper

Hot weather has hit the UK

Exact date 35C 'pulses' from Europe to boost UK's sweltering heatwave, as temperatures soar

Lord Robertson said it is "total nonsense" that the West provoked Russia into invading Ukraine

Nigel Farage is 'cuddling up to the Kremlin', says ex-Nato boss amid claims West provoked Russia into invading Ukraine

Sir Keir Starmer has told a headteacher that her private school should ‘work to ensure costs are kept affordable for parents’.

Private schools must ‘ensure costs are kept affordable for parents’, Starmer tells headteacher amid plans for tax raid

Jordan McSweeney and Damien Bendall both committed murders while on probation

One person a week killed by criminal on probation, as ex-Victims Commissioner slams failure to protect public's safety

Tom Hilton said internet sleuths should 'show some respect'

'Show some respect': Teenager wounded in machete attack by Jay Slater gang tells internet sleuths 'to help find him'

James Cleverly and Yvette Cooper clash.

General Election LIVE: Cleverly and Cooper clash over Rwanda and immigration numbers in LBC exclusive debate

Rishi Sunak Holds Campaign Event In London

Metropolitan Police denies 'leaking names' of Conservatives suspected of betting on election date

Julian Assange Assange was released from Belmarsh Prison in London and boarded a private jet

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange leaves UK after being freed in US plea deal

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has reached a plea deal.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will not be extradited to US after reaching plea deal

Princess Anne is reportedly unable to remember what happened due to the nature of the injury.

Princess Anne ‘unable to recall exactly what happened’ after being ‘hit by horse’ as she faces several days in hospital

England have qualified for the last 16 at Euro 2024.

England qualify for last 16 at Euro 2024 after Spain beat Albania

Rishi Sunak criticised Labour's proposed plans to tackle migration rates in the UK.

UK would be ‘illegal migration capital of world’ under Labour, Sunak says as he sets out plans to ‘stop the boats’