IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said Monday night that ‘an elite unit of the IDF’ accompanied the group, all young children, teenagers and mothers, back to Israel, where they will undergo a medical assessment.
‘Our forces will accompany the returnees until they reach their families in the hospitals.’
How many hostages were released on Monday?
All 11 hostages, made up of three French citizens, two German citizens and six Argentinian citizens, being released tonight were all taken by Hamas from Kibbutz Nir Oz, a settlement just a mile-and-a-half away from the Gaza border with a pre-incursion population of around 400.
The hostages, almost all of whom are young children and teenagers, have been named as: Yuli Cunio, three, Emma Cunio, three, Sharon Aloni Cunio, 34, Karina Engelbert, 51, Yagil Jacob, 12, Erez Kalderon, 12, Sahar Kalderon, 16, Or Jacob, 16, Yuval Engel, 11, Mika Engel, 18, and Eitan Yahalomi, 12.
But fears from earlier tonight that Hamas would split up families have seemingly been confirmed, as many of the children released have been forced to leave their loved ones behind.
The Cunio family are still missing their father, David, after they were all taken from Nir Oz during Hamas’ incursion.
Twelve-year-old Eitan will also be missing his father, Ohad, who remains a Hamas prisoner.
Eitan’s mother, Bat Sheva, previously revealed that motorcycle riding Hamas militants tried to kidnap her and her children from their Nir Oz home, but she managed to jump off with her two daughters.
How many days were the hostages held in captivity?
She added that she was terrified that her Manchester City-supporting son will not be the same following his seven-week stint as a hostage.
The Kalderon family, who will soon be reunited with 16-year-old Sahar and 12-year-old Erez, are also missing their father, 53-year-old Oher.
It is not currently known whether the hostages released tonight ever had contact with other members of their family who were also being held by Hamas.