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What We Know About Israeli Hostages Hamas Released on Monday

Hamas released 11 Israeli hostages — all women and children taken from Kibbutz Nir Oz — on Monday, the fourth day of the cease-fire, according to the Israeli government.

The new releases followed an initial release of 13 Israelis on Friday, 13 more late on Saturday and 14 on Sunday. Some of those released are dual nationals.

An official briefed on the negotiations said that avoiding family separation was critical for the Israelis and that their concerns had escalated as the final day of the initial truce began on Monday. Two sets of siblings returned with their mothers to Israel late on Monday, but their fathers were believed to still be held in Gaza.

Here’s what we know about the Israeli citizens released on Monday.

Sharon Alony Cunio, her husband, David Cunio, and their 3-year-old twins, Emma and Yuli, were hiding in their bomb shelter in Kibbutz Nir Oz with Sharon’s sister, Danielle Alony, and her 5-year-old daughter, Amelia, when they were taken hostage on Oct. 7. The last message their family received from them on WhatsApp read, “Help, we’re dying.”

Their family members, including a cousin, Alana Zeitchik, have shared their story and pleaded for their release in meetings with political leaders around the world.

Danielle and Amelia Alony were released on Friday.

Ms. Zeitchik described Emma and Yuli as “the happiest twins you could ever imagine.” Their cousin Amelia, Ms. Zeitchik said, is the star of the family. “She’s this sharp, witty clever little girl, you can’t really get anything past her.”

“The damage that has been done to these children, this suffering and pain, it doesn’t end with their release,” she said, adding, “Their return is shrouded in a lot of pain and trauma.”

David Cunio, 33, is believed to still be in Gaza.

Karina Engelbert, 51, and her entire family, including her husband, Ronen Engel, 54, and their daughters, Mika, 18, and Yuval, 11, were taken from the safe room inside their home on Kibbutz Nir Oz.

When she was taken, Ms. Engelbert was still recovering from a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery that had gone awry. She was weak and easily fatigued, and a buildup of painful scar tissue on her chest caused tightness, limiting her mobility.

“We don’t know if she’s getting any medical treatment, if anyone is taking care of her, if she is getting any pain relief or any of the medication she needs to keep the cancer from coming back,” Ms. Engelbert’s brother Diego Engelbert said last week.

Ronen Engel is believed to still be in Gaza.

Eitan and his family went to their safe room when the alarms first went off at Kibbutz Nir Oz.

When the news reached the Yahalomi family that Hamas was going house to house, Eitan’s father, Ohad, sat in front of the family’s safe room. The door was broken, Efrat Avsker, Ohad’s sister, said, and he tried to prevent Hamas from entering.

“There was some negotiation between Ohad and the terrorists,” Ms. Avsker said, “They shot him in his leg and his arm.”

The attackers took Eitan’s mother, Bat-Sheva, and all three children — Liel, 1, Yael, 10, and Eitan — leaving Ohad behind.

“They saw him on the floor bleeding,” Ms. Avsker said of Ohad’s family, “and he told them that he loves them.”

Eitan was separated from his mother and sisters and driven into Gaza. Bat-Sheva and her daughters managed to escape and hide in a field, Ms. Avsker said.

The family later learned that Ohad had been kidnapped, too.

“Ohad’s family, and most of those people in those kibbutzim, are people that believed in peace,” Ms. Avsker said. “They wanted peace. They believed in coexistence.”

Ohad Yahalomi is believed to remain in Gaza.

Ofer Kalderon, 53, his 16-year-old daughter, Sahar, and his 12-year-old son, Erez, were seized from their family home in Kibbutz Nir Oz. Gaya Kalderon, 21, last heard from her sister, Sahar, on the morning of Oct. 7, when she sent a text message saying they were in hiding and had left their house.

A day later, Gaya saw a video on Instagram of a child being shoved down a path. It was her brother, Erez — the first sign of her missing relatives she’d seen.

The children’s mother, Hadas Kalderon, later visited the home where they and her ex-husband were taken from, which had been reduced to scorched rubble. Some relics of the family home, including a picture of Erez, remained. Her mother and niece were found dead near the kibbutz.

Ofer Kalderon is believed to remain in Gaza.

Or Yaakov, 16; a brother, Yagil, 12; their father, Yair, 59, and his girlfriend, Meirav Tal, 53, were all taken hostage from Kibbutz Nir Oz.

Or Yaakov has a life-threatening peanut allergy and could die if exposed to small amounts of peanut powder, according to Dr. Arnon Elizur, who spoke publicly in recent weeks to draw attention to the plight of hostages with medical conditions. Yagil appeared in a hostage video released on Nov. 9 by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an armed group based in Gaza.

“You can recognize him, but his eyes are —” his cousin, Sheffa Phillips-Bahat said, pausing, “— they look like he went through so many things so quickly. Just so much less life in them.”

Neither Yair Yaakov nor Meirav Tal were released with Or and Yagil.

Nadav Gavrielov contributed reporting.

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Nathan
Nathan

Nathan is an experienced journalist. He's covered a broad spectrum of topics, including politics, culture, and human interest stories, always aiming to engage and inform his audience. Nathan has a degree in Journalism and upholds the highest standards of integrity and accuracy in his work.

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