After hours of delay, an Israeli official confirmed that the hostages set to be released in the sixth exchange of the cease-fire agreement were handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross. Shortly after, 10 Israeli hostages and 4 Thai hostages were on their way to Israel, according to the ICRC. Two other hostages with Russian citizenship were released hours earlier.
An Israeli official said at 10 p.m. that the delay in the release was "technical" and that it "will be carried out."
The released hostages on Wednesday night are: Itay Regev, Ofir Engel, Amit Shani, Liam Or, Gali Tarshansky, Raz Ben Ami, Yarden Roman, Liat Beinin-Atzili, Moran Stela Yanai, Raya Rotem, Elena Trufanov and her mother Irena Tati.
Hamas still holds at least 145 hostages in Gaza.
These are the hostages who were released on Wednesday night in the sixth round of hostage releases
On the morning of October 7, Gali Tarshansky , 13, and her brother Lior, 15, were at their father Ilya's home in Kibbutz Be'eri. Their grandmother, who was at her home in Be'eri, recalled: "That morning I texted with Lior and he told me everything was fine, but I understood from the short words he wrote that he was under a lot of pressure. He blew me a kiss, and I told him I loved him, and that was our last conversation."
Gali, who was hiding with Lior in the safe room, sent a message to her mother from there: "We are going to die." Lior was murdered in the massacre and Gali's beloved dog, Moccha, was also shot to death, and Gali herself was kidnapped to Gaza. "Gali likes my chicken soup and kneidlech best. Since that day I haven't cooked anything and I'm just worried all the time. I just want to see Gali at home. She is such a cheerful girl, so loving life. It doesn't make sense to me at all that she would be in this place, in the dark," said her grandmother.
Amit Shani, an 11th grader from Be'eri, celebrated his 16th birthday in captivity. He was with his mother and younger sisters in his home in the kibbutz on October 7 when seven terrorists broke into the house.
"Amit tried to protect his little sisters, but his mother, Tal, told him to surrender and the terrorists took them out of the house and led them to the kibbutz with their neighbor Yossi Sharabi and his daughter's partner Ofir Engel," said a relative. "Apparently they didn't have room in the vehicle, so they decided to take only the boys. Tal approached one of the terrorists, looked him in the eyes and said: 'He's just a boy, not a soldier.' She begged him to take her and not him. They put Amit in the car, and she shouted at him not to be afraid and that they will get him out of Gaza."
On Black Saturday, Ofir Engel, a 17-year-old 12th grade student from Kibbutz Ramat Rachel near Jerusalem, visited his girlfriend Yuval Sharabi in Be'eri. When the terrorists broke into the family home, they separated the men and women and took with them Yossi Sharabi, Yoav's father, Ofir Engel and Amit Shani.
Ofir's grandfather, Yosef, said: "The terrorists took the whole family out of the house. The boys were loaded into a car and the girls were left behind. Yuval wanted to get into the car with Ofir - but the terrorist drove her away." Ophir returns to Israel and for the family on his father's birthday. But Yossi Sharabi is still in captivity, his brother Eli is missing, and his wife was murdered along with their two daughters.
Liam Or, 18, from Kibbutz Re'im, is the cousin of Noam and Alma Or, who were released in the second round and whose father Dror remains in the hands of the terrorists and mother Yonat was murdered in Be'eri
During Operation Protective Edge in 2014, when he was nine years old, Liam presented on Ynet a drawing he created during the operation and said: "That's how I forget about the situation. I want it to end already, because it's been going on for more than a month and I'm tired of hearing that soldiers fell here and fell there. Boom! It's not fun, but I'm getting used to it. The problem is that you're not ready for it and it can always happen. Once our house really shook and then we couldn't take it anymore and drove far away."
Four days after his sister Maya was released in the second phase, Itay Regev is also no longer in captivity in Gaza. Itay, 18, from Herzliya, was kidnapped from the music festival in Re'im
After the release of Maya, who was evacuated to the Soroka Hospital in moderate condition due to a leg injury, their mother Mirit said: "My heart is broken because my son is still in Gaza, captured by Hamas. I am going to hug Maya tight, we will not stop until Itay and all the hostages return home."
Four days after the daughter's return from Gaza, her mother is also no longer in captivity. The non-inclusion of Raya Rotem, 54, in the list of released hostages in the second round, when her daughter was released, almost led to the explosion of the hostage deal. But today the mother also returns home, two days after her daughter, Hila, who was with her in captivity, celebrated her birthday in the hospital.
Hamas claimed that they were unable to locate the mother, but the daughter testified that the two were together in captivity almost until her release. "This is a blatant violation of the agreement. We demand from Hamas and the mediators to return Raya home to us immediately," the family members, who were outraged, said. Raya and Hila were kidnapped from Be'eri, together with returned hostage Emily Hand, 9, Hila's friend.
They waited 54 days for Liat Atzili, 49 years old from Nir Oz, at the school where she works as a teacher. Though Liat returned on Wednesday night, her husband Aviv is still in the hands of Hamas terrorists.
The last message Liat wrote in a WhatsApp group of friends on October 7 was: "Holding on." She even had time to talk to a friend of her husband's who was sent to the reserves and tell him that her husband, who went out to fight against the terrorists together with the kibbutz emergency security squad, was still alive. But shortly after that, Liat was kidnapped and Aviv's fate is unknown. The house itself was completely burned by the terrorists. Liat, who is also a guide at Yad Vashem, will be reunited with her three children - the youngest, Aya, who was not on the kibbutz on the day of the attack, and the older ones, Ofri and Neta, who were on the kibbutz on October 7 and survived.
Alon Gat and little daughter Gefen, only 3 years old, waited almost two months for their mother who was kidnapped to Gaza - after the father jumped out of the car with his daughter and thus escaped from the terrorists. Today Yarden Roman-Gat , 36, will return, but Alon's sister, Carmel, is still in captivity.
Only a month before the war and the surprise attack by Hamas, Yarden Roman's family left Kibbutz Be'eri due to the security situation. They moved to Givatayim in central Israel, went on a trip to South Africa and returned for a family holiday dinner at the kibbutz, at her husband Alon's parents.
"Alon's mother was murdered, Alon and daughter Gefen had the opportunity to jump out of a car and run away," said Yarden's brother. "They ran a few meters before the terrorists noticed and shot at them. Yarden passed Gefen to Alon, so that he could run faster. The last thing Alon saw was Yareden stopping and putting her hands on her head. Already on that day they organized forces of trackers and security guards, to look for her. Alon showed them the spot and I stayed with Gefen, who told me, 'Father is going to look for Mother, she is lost and we need to find her.'
Moran Stela Yanai
Moran Stela Yanai, 40, an artist and jewelry designer from Be'er Sheva, made a dream come true and for the first time dared to sell her creations at her own stand. It happened at the music festival near Kibbutz Re'im, and that night she wrote on Instagram: "This is a big step for me." In the morning, Moran was kidnapped by the terrorists, and it was recorded in a video that Hamas distributed on TikTok.
Raz Ben Ami
Days after Raz Ben Ami was filmed being transported barefoot to Gaza from Kibbutz Be'eri, she was released from Gaza. But her husband Ohad remains a prisoner of Hamas.
Ohad's daughters survived October 7 and, in correspondence from that morning, their parents told them about the horror at the kibbutz. Two weeks ago, the girls celebrated Raz's 57th birthday at the Kidnapped Square in Tel Aviv.
Elena Trufanov and her mother Irena Tati
On October 7, Elena Trufanov and her mother, Irena Tati, were kidnapped from the Nir Oz family home, together with Sasha, Yelena's son, and his friend, Sapir. Vitali, Yelena's husband, was murdered in the massacre.
The family immigrated to Israel from Russia 25 years ago and lived in the kibbutz. Today Elena and Irena were released with the help of their Russian citizenship, as a Hamas "tribute" to Russian President Vladimir Putin - but Sasha and Sapir remain in captivity in Gaza.
With Yelena's release, all three women who appeared in the Hamas psychological terror video - Yelena, Daniel Aloni and Rimon Kirsht - were actually released.
Meanwhile, Israel has informed Hamas through mediators that if a list of the next hostages to be released does not arrive Wednesday night Israel will resume its ground war on Thursday, according to an Israeli security official. After the current handover is complete, there will be 25 children and women remaining in Gaza. "Israel is telling Hamas: return all 25 and then we will talk about the rest," he said. Returning the women and children will buy Hamas an additional two days of cease-fire, and the official said it would consider another day of truce and the release of Palestinian prisoners at a ration of 3 to 1 in exchange for 10 adult males.
The first two released hostages, Israeli women who also hold Russian citizenship, identified as Elena Trufanov, 50, and her mother Irena Tati, 73, were welcomed by the residents of the southern Israeli border town of Ofakim with waving Israeli flags as the vehicle they were driving in drove to Hatzerim Airbase near Beersheba. From there they will be taken to an Israeli hospital, where they will be reunited with family members.
Five children and seven women held hostage by Hamas are set to be released Wednesday night under the cease-fire agreement. A source close to Hamas told AFP aound 9 p.m. that Hamas had handed over the sixth group of Israeli hostages to be released under an agreement with Israel to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
The IDF spokesman said at close to 8 p.m. that the International Committee of the Red Cross informed the military that two Israeli hostages had been handed over to them and that they are on their way to Israeli territory. According to the IDF, "their release is in addition to the list of hostages scheduled to be released today."
Trufanov, 50, and her mother Irena Tati, 73, were kidnapped by Hamas from Kibbutz Nir Oz.
Trufanov was one of three women hostages who appeared in a video released at the end of October by Hamas. Her husband, Vitaliy Trufanov, was murdered by the Hamas terrorists in their massacre on October 7. Their son, Sasha Trufanov, and his girlfriend, Sapir Cohen, also were abducted at Nir Oz while on a weekend visit with his parents.
Hamas claimed on Wednesday evening that it released the two hostages with Russian citizenship at the request of Russian President Vladimir Putin. An Israeli security official later confirmed that two women with Russian citizenship were released from Hamas captivity and turned over to the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Photos and videos were published from the moments when the two women were transferred from Hamas captivity to the Red Cross, reportedly in the city of Khan Younis. They show crowds surrounding the hostages and the Red Cross vehicle, shouting "Allahu Akbar." Masked terrorists hand the two over to the Red Cross, as Irena is seen smiling as she meets one of the representatives of this organization. Unlike the releases in previous rounds, which were also recorded, this time the crowd of Gazans that gathered around was much larger and closer to thehostages in a way that seemed quite dangerous.
At the same time, a photo of the two was also published after they arrived at the Rafah crossing, hugging each other.
Additionally, Hamas claimed on Wednesday evening that Shiri Bibas and her two children, 10-month-old Kfir and 4-year-old Ariel, who were kidnapped to the Gaza Strip, are dead. The terrorist organization has not provided proof, and Israel has not signaled so far that it is true.
The IDF said that it is examining the reliability of the information, and that they spoke with members of the Bibas family and informed them of the report. The IDF also said in a statement that "responsibility for the safety of all hostages in the Gaza Strip rests fully with the terrorist organization Hamas. Hamas endangers the hostages, including nine children. Hamas is required to immediately return them to Israel."
In recent weeks, since the outbreak of the war, Hamas has published false claims, and the credibility of the claim is unclear. The IDF spokesman said this week that the Bibas family, including the father, had been kidnapped by Hamas, but today they are being held by another terrorist organization in the Khan Younis area of the southern Gaza Strip.
Earlier on Wednesday, two Egyptian security sources told Reuters that negotiators seeking to prolong the six-day truce in Gaza believe it can be extended for another two days. The number of civilian hostages held by Hamas who would be released under the extension was still being worked out, the sources said.
Negotiations for the release of civilian hostages were going well, but military hostages held by Hamas presented an obstacle, the sources added.
Teams from the International Committee for the Red Cross have not yet received permission to visit the Israeli abductees held captive by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, CNN reported Wednesday. According to the report, this is a violation of the agreement between the parties. White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said that according to the agreement the Red Cross was supposed to get access to the hostages 'on the fourth day of the cease-fire.' "We are ready to visit the hostages held by Hamas as soon as we are allowed," said the organization's spokesman.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel will return to fighting in Gaza after the return of the hostages. "There is no way we will not return to fighting until the end. This is my policy, the entire cabinet stands behind it, the entire government stands behind it, the soldiers stand behind it, the people stand behind it - this is exactly what we will do," Netanyahu said in a video posted to social media. "From the beginning of the war, I set three goals - the elimination of Hamas, the return of all our hostages, and to ensure that Gaza will never again be a threat to Israel. These three goals remain in place. In the last week, we achieved a very great achievement - the return of many dozens of our hostages. Before this week It would have sounded imaginary, but we achieved it."
First published: 17:47, 11.29.23