The British-Israeli son of an 75-year-old woman who was taken hostage by Hamas has said she has been freed from captivity.
Noam Sagi’s mother, Ada, was taken from her home in Kibbutz Nir Oz on 7 October after the terrorist group crossed the border into Israel.
She had been due to celebrate her birthday with family in London just days after she was taken hostage, Sagi previously told a press conference.
Sagi, a London-based psychotherapist, said his mother was freed on Tuesday evening after a pause in the fighting in Gaza was extended by two days. She is among 10 Israeli hostages and two Thai nationals released in exchange for 30 Palestinian prisoners who were held in Israel’s jails.
The truce is due to end after one more exchange on Wednesday night. Israel has said it is willing to extend the ceasefire by one day for every 10 additional hostages that Hamas releases, according to the deal brokered by Qatar, Egypt and the US.
Sagi said in a statement: “I can confirm that my mum, Ada Sagi, has been released tonight. For our family, this is a moment we have dreamt of and worked for every minute of every day since October 7.
“It will be hard to believe it is true until we are able to embrace in person. Our first priority is my mum’s mental and physical health and we ask for time and space while we prioritise her wellbeing.
“Seeing my mum will be a moment of unparalleled relief and joy for us personally but comes against a backdrop of unparalleled grief and sorrow for our community.
“For many families, including friends and neighbours, the tragedy is ongoing as long as their family members remain hostage, and the traumas they have suffered will leave scars that might never heal.
“We call on every government, international agency and NGO to do whatever it takes to get every man, woman and child taken hostage on October 7 back where they belong – with their families.
“Enough with the games and enough with the psychological torture. Bring them home. Bring them all home, and do it now.”
He told the BBC his mother was “sharp”, “witty” and “funny” during a video call with her following her release.
He told the broadcaster: “It’s such a huge relief. I’ve just finished a video call with her. She’s sharp, she’s funny, she’s witty. She’s her own self. I’m over the moon… it really is a beautiful, amazing moment, it’s just crazy.
“I just want to feel her and hug her and I want her to know how hard we fought to get to this day and she will know forever how loved she is.”
Meanwhile fears are growing for 10-month-old Kfir Bibas, who is the youngest hostage being held in Gaza, who has not yet been released after being taken from the same kibbutz as Ada Sagi.
He is not in the custody of Hamas and may now be with another terror group while his family fear he will not be freed in the current round of releases, according to reports.
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