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Israel Gaza: Three-year-old-twins among hostages released by Hamas

  • Published
    16 hours ago

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Image source, Family handout

A mother and her three-year-old twin daughters, who were kidnapped by Hamas on 7 October, are among 11 Israeli hostages released on Monday.

Sharon Aloni Cunio, and her children Ema and Yuly, were taken from kibbutz Nir Oz with some other family members.

Their release came on the fourth day of a truce between Israel and Hamas, with Israeli hostages being swapped for Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

Another mother and seven children make up the latest batch of freed hostages.

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Sharon Aloni Cunio’s husband, David Cunio, was also taken hostage by Hamas last month. He and his brother Ariel are still believed to be in Gaza, held captive.

Her sister Danielle Aloni and five-year-old niece, Emilia, were released by Hamas last week.

They were all kidnapped from the same kibbutz – Nir Oz, in southern Israel – after taking shelter in a safe room. Hamas had then set fire to the house, and the family were captured as they tried to escape the flames.

Or Yaakov and Yagil Yaakov brothers who were taken hostage from Kibbutz Nir Oz

Image source, Family handout

Also freed on Monday were teenage brothers Or Yaakov, 16, and Yagil who turned 13 while being held by Hamas.

They were kidnapped on 7 October along with their father Yair Yaakov and his partner Meirav Tal, both of who are still thought to be in captivity.

The children’s mother, Ranana, was on the phone with them when Hamas arrived, and heard her youngest son cry: “Don’t take me, I’m too young!”

Sahar Kalderon, 16, smiles

Image source, Family handout

Siblings Sahar Kalderon, 16, and her 12-year-old brother Erez were freed by Hamas, too. Their father Ofer, 53, has not been released.

Karina Engel-Bert and her daughters Mika and Yuval were taken hostages from Kibbutz Nir Oz

Image source, Family handout

Also released were Karina Engel-Bart, 52, and her daughters, Mika, 18 and Yuval, 11.

Ms Engel-Bart’s husband, 55-year-old Ronen Engel, remains in Gaza. Speaking to local media in Israel, her brother Diego Engel-Bert, said the family had been “glued to the TV screen and full of happiness and longing” after finding out their relatives were to be released.

Eitan Yahalomi was taken from Ni Oz kibbutz by Hamas on 7 October

Image source, Family handout

Eitan Yahalomi, 12, was the final Israeli hostage to be released on Monday.

His mother, Batshema Yahalomi, told the BBC earlier this month that Eitan and her husband, Ohad, had been taken by Hamas fighters on the back of motorbikes.

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More on Israel-Gaza war

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Qatar, a chief negotiator in the talks between Israel and Hamas, said on Monday that both sides had agreed to extend the temporary truce by two days. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied this.

Under the extension, Hamas has committed to release another 20 women and children, according to US national security spokesman John Kirby.

He estimated that up to nine of the remaining hostages were American, and said he hoped they would be among those released in the coming days.

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