More hostages released Wednesday amid talks to extend truce

November 29, 2023

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said late Wednesday evening local time that 10 additional Israeli hostages had been released as efforts continued to extend a six-day truce—including one Israeli-American of dual citizenship: high school history teacher Liat Beinin, whose husband, Aviv Atzili, remains among about eight unaccounted for Americans. 

The latest hostages’ freedom comes after two Russian-Israeli women who’d been held hostage, Yelena Trupanob and Irena Tati, were released earlier in the day, separate from Israel’s truce agreement with Hamas. Four additional Thai nationals were also released in separate deals.

In an effort to help extend the truce U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken flew to Israel on Wednesday. 

“We’d like to see the pause extended because what it has enabled, first and foremost is hostages being released and being united with their families,” Blinken said. “It’s also enabled us to surge humanitarian assistance into the people of Gaza who so desperately need it. So, its continuation, by definition means that more hostages would be coming home, more assistance would be getting in.”

Ahead of the release of the latest group of freed hostages, the IDF said it believes 159 people remain in custody. That’s out of a total of 240 who were captured during Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel that sparked the war. 

Sadly, though, the IDF was assessing a Hamas claim that the youngest baby taken hostage, 10-month-old Kfir Bibas, was no longer alive, nor were her four-year-old brother Ariel or their Mother Shiri; Hamas claimed they were all killed in an Israeli airstrike, the accuracy of which IDF was investigating.

In exchange for the released hostages, Israel initially agreed to release 150 Palestinian prisoners and added another 50 Palestinian women detainees to that list on Tuesday. Additionally, hundreds of humanitarian aid trucks have entered Gaza, dozens of which were intended to be sent to northern Gaza, where the front lines are based.

However, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres told the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday that the level of aid entering Gaza “remains completely inadequate to meet the huge needs of more than 2 million people.”

PHOTO: Freed hostages returning to Israel Tuesday, per Israel Foreign Ministry

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