The family of Aisha al-Ziadna, 17, and her brother Bilal, 18, residents of the Bedouin city of Rahat, were informed that the teens will be released Thursday as part of the seventh round of releases in the deal to free hostages from Gaza. The two were kidnapped along with their father Yosef, 49, and their brother Hamza, 21, while at work at Kibbutz Holit.
They are two of up to 10 Israelis, including two Russian citizens, who are set to be released by Hamas on Thursday night.
A Hamas official told the AFP network at noon on Thursday that 10 Israelis, and not eight as originally announced, would be released. Earlier, the network reported that Russia is putting pressure on Hamas to release more Russian citizens as part of the cease-fire.
The list of Israelis being released includes the teens, six women and three bodies of dead hostages.
"After we saw the list of those released, we received calls from the IDF and security officials and they finally informed us that Aisha and her brother Bilal would be released," Daham al-Ziadna, a relative of the hostages, said. "We are happy, but the joy will remain missing as long as all the hostages are not released. We want to see everyone in the family. We still have no information about the others, and that worries us a lot."
On Wednesday, the families of the Bedouin hostages and the leadership of the Bedouin public called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and all parties involved in the negotiations to act for the release of the Bedouin hostages, and in particular for the release of Aisha and Bilal, who meet the criteria for the release of children.
The families and the leadership of the Bedouin community said in a staetment that "the Bedouin community paid a heavy price with 17 murdered people, and many young Bedouins sacrificed for the sake of helping and saving Jewish families, such as Amer Abu Sabila , who was murdered while saving some of the members of the Swissa family from Sderot and many others. It is unthinkable to leave them behind, especially when two of those meet the agreed criteria for release at this stage - 17-year-old Aisha and her 18-year-old brother Bilal. The leadership of the Bedouin community calls on the prime minister and all those involved to make every effort to return them home."
The letter also said that "on this occasion, the leadership of the Bedouin public appreciates and thanks all the involved parties and mediators working to return all the hostages, congratulates the hostages who returned safely to their families and wishes a safe return to all the other hostages without exception."
A relative of the hostages from the al-Ziadana family said Wednesday that "there is no way to leave them with Hamas. They demand that the family be included in the list. Most of the families of the hostages are aware of the fate of their family members, and we still do not know if they are alive or not. The mental situation is very difficult, we started to feel that they are capricious. At least let us be informed about their condition."
A friend of Aisha said that there is a "difficult and shocking atmosphere. I want to hear her voice as it was before she was kidnapped. I don't understand the reasons why Aisha is not included in the releases. Let her be released. Our hearts are torn, and every day the feeling is harder."
A relative of the hostages, Farhan Al-Qadi, said: "We are all waiting for them to be released, we don't yet know how to speak and what to say. It is not enough that we are living precariously in our lives in terms of toilets and shelters, now there is the matter of the hostages, about whom we know nothing. Because of the situation, we can not sleep, can not work and can not to eat, and we hope that we will accept them all and not be left with this difficult state of mind."