ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 140

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Day 2 of hostage releases

In emotional photos and videos, girls Emily Hand, Hila Rotem reunite with families

Tears of joy as second group of hostages — 8 kids, 4 mothers and 1 young woman — return to Israel after 50 days in Hamas captivity

Tom Hand embraces his daughter Emily Hand as they reunite, in the early hours of November 26, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
Tom Hand embraces his daughter Emily Hand as they reunite, in the early hours of November 26, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces published photos and videos from Saturday night’s release of 13 Israeli hostages from Gaza, including a clip showing Emily Hand, 9, meeting her father Tom for the first time in 50 days and Hila Rotem, 13, being welcomed and embraced by her uncle.

In a breach of the terms of the Qatar-led hostage exchange deal, the Hamas terror group released Rotem without her mother.

The group of hostages, the second group to be released as part of the temporary truce, consisted of eight children, four mothers, and a young woman.

The 13 Israeli captives returned to Israel overnight Saturday following an hours-long, nerve-racking delay that threatened to scuttle the temporary truce agreement.

Four Thai nationals were also freed as part of a separate deal negotiated by Egypt, with the involvement of Qatar and Iran, after initial reports said that seven were set to be freed.

Most of the Israeli hostages released Saturday were from Kibbutz Be’eri, which was one of the communities hit hardest on October 7 when thousands of terrorists from Gaza invaded southern Israel and killed some 1,200 people, a majority of them civilians in their homes and at an outdoor music festival, and took more than 240 hostage.

Hila Rotem, 13, is embraced by her uncle as they reunite, in the early hours of November 26, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
Hila Rotem, 13, is embraced by her uncle as they reunite, in the early hours of November 26, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

Footage also showed Adi Shoham and her three-year-old daughter Yahel, as well as Shiri Weiss and her 18-year-old daughter Noga Weiss, being received by IDF soldiers after their release from captivity.

Adi Shoham and her three-year-old daughter Yahel are received by IDF soldiers after being freed from captivity in Gaza, November 25, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
Noga Weiss, 18, right, and her mother Shiri Weiss, 53, second from right, are received by IDF soldiers after being freed from captivity in Gaza, November 25, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

On Sunday morning, the Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan said that 12 of the 13 hostages released from Gaza on Saturday night spent the night at the medical center, and that none of them required urgent medical attention.

“After a very long night of anticipation, at around 3:30 a.m., 12 hostages were transferred here, and I am happy to inform you that, although the days of captivity are evident on them, none of them need urgent and immediate intervention,” said children’s hospital chief Prof. Itai Pessach. “We will continue to support them physically and mentally.”

Emily Hand (right) reunites with her father, Tom Hand, in the early hours of November 26, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The 13th hostage released by Hamas terrorists on Saturday evening, Maya Regev, 21, was hospitalized in Beersheba with a gunshot wound. Soroka Medical Center director Dr. Shlomi Kodesh said Sunday morning that she was in moderate condition.

Regev, who was kidnapped with her brother Itay, 18, from the Supernova music festival near Kibbutz Re’im on October 7, will undergo a series of surgeries and is expected to recover fully.

Her brother remains in Hamas captivity in Gaza.

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