Two female hostages held by the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigade, the military wing of Hamas, were released on Monday following the group announcing their future release on Saturday with the hope of using the same procedures used to release two American detainees on the 20th Kan 11, a state owned Israeli news outlet, reported.
The two detainees released by Al-Qassam are referred to as “Nurit” and “Yokhved.” The pair were released at the Rafah border crossing, an entry way to Egypt from Gaza, Al-Qahara Al-Ikhbariya, an Egyptian news outlet, reported.
Both released hostages are in their 80s, while their husbands remain in captivity. Israeli forces are currently en route to secure the released hostages, Kan 11 reported.
Kan 11 further reported that Hamas made demands for compensation for the return of the hostages, which has led some to speculate that this may have prevented an earlier release.
The news outlet reported that “Israeli officials confirm that Qatar is working significantly to bring about a deal for the release of hostages, with an emphasis on women and children.”
Hamas footage of the release of two female Israeli hostages, who they refer to as Nurit and Yokhved. pic.twitter.com/8DUFIHPsCn
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Al-Qassam previously claimed that Israel refused to accept the pair for unknown reasons.
The group’s statement reads as follows:
“We, in the Al-Qassam Brigades, and through Egyptian-Qatari mediation, released the two detainees, Nurit Yitzhak and Yochved Lifshitz, knowing that the enemy has refused since last Friday to accept their return and is still neglecting the file of its prisoners, and we have decided to release them. For compelling humanitarian and health reasons, despite the occupation committing more than eight violations of the procedures that were agreed upon with the mediator brothers that the occupation would adhere to during this day to complete the handover process,”
Two American detainees were released on Friday, the 20th, by Al-Qassam. The group stated their release was in an effort to “prove to the American people that the claims made by Biden and his fascist administration are false and baseless.”
The pair of Americans were released at the Israeli-Gaza border to IDF units, who transported them to a nearby military base for their safety.