Jerusalem, Oct 23 (EFE).- The al-Qassam Brigades, armed wing of the Islamist group Hamas, announced on Monday the release of two elderly Israeli women hostages, who were among at least 220 captives in Gaza, after mediation by Egypt and Qatar.
The spokesman for Hamas’ military wing, Abu Ubaida, said in a statement the organization had released Nurit Yitzhak and Yochved Lifshitz, aged 80 and 85, respectively.
He assured that their liberation occurred “for compelling and satisfactory humanitarian reasons,” after mediation by Egypt and Qatar, which are intermediaries between Hamas and the Israeli authorities.
However, Ubaida, said on Telegram that the release of the hostages was secured despite Israel’s “refusal to accept them since last Friday and its neglect of the issue of our prisoners.”
According to the Ynet website, Israel confirmed the release of the two hostages, who were transferred to Egypt after 17 days in captivity after being seized on Oct. 7, when Hamas launched the attack on Israel.
The two women were residents of Kibbutz Nir Oz, which borders the Gaza Strip and was one of the communities hardest hit by the Hamas offensive.
According to the Israeli press, the government was not involved in the process of releasing the women.
The husbands of the two women, who are also elderly, remain in captivity in Gaza.
The International Committee of the Red Cross would have played an important role in the release of both hostages, and its team participated in their transfer from Gaza to Egypt through the Rafah crossing.
Hamas offered to release the same two hostages on Sunday “without asking for anything in return,” and accused Israel of rejecting the offer.
On Monday, the armed militias’ spokesman also accused Israel of committing “more than eight violations of the procedures that were agreed upon with the mediating brothers for the occupation to adhere to during this day in order to complete the handover process.”
With this release, four of at least 222 captured by Palestinian militants have left Gaza after Hamas freed two US women on Friday, citing “humanitarian reasons” and as a gesture to the administration of Joe Biden.
The two freed Americans were a mother and daughter who were visiting Israel when they were captured.
In turn, the American newspaper New York Times reported today, citing a senior Israeli military official, that Hamas plans to release some 50 hostages with foreign citizenship through Qatari mediation. EFE