Herzog: Israel won’t stop until all the hostages held in Gaza are home

President Isaac Herzog attends a ceremony in which Bank of Israel Governor Amir Yaron's tenure is extended for another five-year term, at the President's Residence, in Jerusalem, December 18, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/ FLASH90)
President Isaac Herzog attends a ceremony in which Bank of Israel Governor Amir Yaron's tenure is extended for another five-year term, at the President's Residence, in Jerusalem, December 18, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/ FLASH90)

President Isaac Herzog welcomes the return of the two hostages freed in an overnight operation in Gaza’s Rafah, invoking medieval Jewish scholar Maimonides who said “there is no greater mitzvah than the redemption of captives.”

“I salute everyone who brought Fernando and Luis home in a daring rescue operation. We will continue to act in every way to return all the hostages to their homes,” Herzog adds.

It is believed that 130 hostages abducted by Hamas on October 7 remain in Gaza — not all of them alive — after 105 civilians were released from Hamas captivity during a weeklong truce in late November, and four hostages were released prior to that. Three hostages have been rescued by troops alive, including the two today, and the bodies of 11 hostages have also been recovered, including three mistakenly killed by the military. The IDF has confirmed the deaths of 29 of those still held by Hamas, citing new intelligence and findings obtained by troops operating in Gaza.

One more person is listed as missing since October 7, and their fate is still unknown.

Hamas is also holding the bodies of fallen IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin since 2014, as well as two Israeli civilians, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, who are both thought to be alive after entering the Strip of their own accord in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

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