Jimmy Pacheco, Filipino caregiver taken hostage on Oct. 7, among those released in Thai deal

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

Gelienor “Jimmy” Leano Pacheco after his release from Hamas captivity on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/X)
Gelienor “Jimmy” Leano Pacheco after his release from Hamas captivity on November 24, 2023. (Screen capture/X)

Gelienor “Jimmy” Leano Pacheco, 33, a Filipino caregiver and father of three, who was taken hostage to Gaza by Hamas terrorists attacking Kibbutz Nir Oz, is among the 24 people who were released today back to Israel, the Moked Hotline for Refugees and Migrants announces.

He is one of the 11 foreign workers released in a separate deal from the one that freed the 13 Israeli hostages. Pacheco was released along with 10 Thai nationals.

Pacheco lived in Nir Oz where he cared for Amitai Ben Zvi, 80.

Nir Oz, a community of about 400 people situated three kilometers from the Gaza border, lost almost half of its population during Hamas’s shock attack. Over 100 residents and some 15 foreign agricultural workers were killed during the onslaught, and about 80 more were taken captive, according to a military spokesperson.

On that Saturday morning, Jimmy managed to call and tell his friends that he was being kidnapped and Amitai, or Abba, as he called him, had been killed.

Hours later, Amitai Ben Zvi’s family received a video from Jimmy’s family in the Philippines, showing Jimmy handcuffed in a car in Gaza.

Another Hamas video of Jimmy also surfaced on Telegram in which he is surrounded by a shouting crowd.

Jimmy had been working in Israel for five years, caring for Amitai Ben Zvi for the last four years, serving his employer with “quiet, admirable devotion, always attentive to his needs and supportive in countless ways,” wrote Ben Zvi’s daughter.

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