Irena Tati, 73, and Elena Trufanova, 50, a mother and daughter with Russian citizenship, were released from Hamas captivity on Wednesday evening.
During her time in captivity, Trufanova appeared in one of Hamas' propaganda videos alongside Daniel Aloni and Rimon Buchshtab-Kirsht, who had already been released from captivity and returned to Israel in recent days. Trufanova's husband, Vitaliy from Kibbutz Nir Oz, was killed in the October 7 massacre. Their only son, Sasha, and his girlfriend Sapir Cohen, were visiting the kibbutz during the surprise attack and were abducted to Gaza along with Elena's elderly mother.
Gal, a friend of Sasha's, said that both Trufanova and Tati are "feeling well, and they are coming to Sheba [Medical Center near Tel Aviv] where friends from the kibbutz will wait for them. We will arrive in the morning and give them the night to rest. It seems they are in good shape, smiling, healthy, walking on their own. For us, they returned as they left, though I'm sure it's not the case mentally. We are excited to see them, but still half our hearts are in Gaza, with Sasha and Sapir. We'll do everything to bring them back."
She added, "It seems to me that a hug is what they need most, and of course, we will provide whatever they want, nothing is off the table. We still don't know where they will stay after being released from the hospital, but when we get to that bridge, we'll cross it too."
Sasha Friedman, a relative of Cohen's, told Ynet, "I am happy for them that they are returning from captivity. I am really looking forward to seeing Sapir and Sasha on the upcoming lists."
Footage from Gaza shows the moment when the two hostages were handed over from Hamas to the International Red Cross, reportedly in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza Strip. In the video, crowds surround the captives and the Red Cross vehicle, with shouts of "Allahu Akbar" heard. The two women are seen being transferred to Red Cross personnel, with Tati smiling as she encounters a representative of the organization.
Unlike previous releases, this time the crowd of Gazans that gathered around was significantly larger and alarmingly close to the hostages, presenting a potentially dangerous situation.