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Israeli military and ambulances wait in Tel Aviv for the arrival of the released hostages: abducted with extreme brutality, now free


The terrorist organization Hamas has released a first group of hostages who were abducted during the attack on Israel on October 7. A total of 13 women and children were able to leave the Gaza Strip on Friday after weeks in Hamas captivity. Among the 13 hostages released were four people with German citizenship.

Doron Katz Asher, 34, and her two daughters, Raz, 4, and Aviv, 2, were abducted by Hamas militants from a kibbutz near the Gaza Strip on October 7. Now they were released unharmed. 77-year-old Margalit Berta Moses, who had been kidnapped with her husband from the same kibbutz, was also released. All four have both German and Israeli citizenship.

The released hostages are said to be doing well under the circumstances, having been brought back to Israel by the Israeli military immediately after being handed over by the International Committee of the Red Cross at the Rafah crossing in the southern Gaza Strip. According to the Israeli army, psychologists are also available on site, especially to care for the children immediately after the traumatic experiences.

With the children in the shelter

Yoni Katz Asher, the father of the young family who visited their grandmother on Kibbutz Nir Os without him on October 7, had received a voice message from his wife during the Hamas terror attack. In a panic, she told him that armed fighters were in her house. She said she locked herself in a shelter with the children and hoped that the Hamas terrorists would not find her. Apparently, the grandmother's partner had tried to convince the terrorists with money to spare the family.

However, the family man's hope quickly faded. When he located his wife's mobile phone on Saturday morning, it was already near Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip. Shortly thereafter, the electronic trail was lost. In the evening, he recognized the abductees from pictures of hostages from the Gaza Strip circulating on the Internet. He hadn't heard from them since.

In the days after the terrorist attack, the family man, like many victims of the hostage-taking, went public, spoke to Israeli and international media, published photos of his wife and children. In desperation, he appealed in videos to the hostage-takers to spare his wife and children. When German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited Israel just days after the terrorist attack, he met Yoni Asher for talks at the German Embassy in Tel Aviv.

Tough negotiations with Berlin's help

According to SPIEGEL information about the hostages, the German government had closely accompanied the tough negotiations. Among the approximately 20 Hamas hostages are German citizens, most of whom are so-called dual nationals who have both Israeli and German nationality. In Israel itself, the Federal Foreign Office's Crisis Commissioner (AA) maintained a close relationship with ex-General Gal Hirsch, who coordinated all efforts to free the hostages on behalf of the government.

Apart from this, the Chancellor and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock tried to promote a deal between Israel and Hamas through their contacts with Egypt and Qatar. Both states were essential for the talks because they have contacts with the Hamas leadership and were able to mediate between the terrorist organization and Israel.

The 13 hostages released on Friday afternoon were part of a deal between the two warring parties. In return, Israel wanted to release 39 Palestinian prisoners – 24 women and 15 teenagers – who are serving prison sentences in Israel on Friday evening. The deal also includes a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. This has been in effect since 7 a.m. on Friday morning (local time). In addition to the 13 hostages, <> hostages from Thailand were also released.