Israel-Hamas war rages as Gaza deaths mount

The spokesperson for the Israel Prime Minister’s office issued a statement praising the efforts that led to the Monday release of Nurit Cooper and Yocheved Lifshitz, who were held hostage in Gaza.

“The IDF and the security forces have worked hard in the last few days in all channels to bring about their release and to overcome the many difficulties set by Hamas,” the spokesperson for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement on behalf of the Special Envoy for Abducted and Missing Persons.

The two were abducted by Hamas from their homes in Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7. Their spouses — Cooper’s 85-year-old husband, Amiram, and Lifshitz’s 83-year-old husband, Oded — were kidnapped with them and are still being held by Hamas, according to the statement. 

They arrived in Egypt in “stable condition,” reported an Egyptian news outlet.

Cooper and Lifshitz are now being taken to a medical center in Israel where their family members are waiting, Netanyahu’s office said. 

“We thank Egypt for its assistance, and the Red Cross for their important role as life savers,” the statement reads. 

“The Government of Israel, the IDF and the entire security establishment will continue to operate with the best of their abilities and efforts in order to locate all of the missing and return all of the abductees home,” the Prime Minister’s office said. 

More on hostages: Israeli authorities said Saturday that it believes 210 people are being held hostage in Gaza. A Hamas spokesperson previously said the militant group captured between 200 and 250 people during the October 7th terror attacks. Two Israeli-American dual citizens, Judith Tai Raanan and her 17-year-old daughter, Natalie Raanan, were released Friday.