An Israeli woman in her mid-to-late 70s, previously thought to have been killed, is alive and among 13 hostages freed Friday, Israeli authorities said.
Hanna Katzir was abducted from her home in the Kibbutz Nir Oz on Oct. 7, when her husband, Rami, was killed. Her name, alongside several others from her kibbutz, was released by the Israeli government in a list of hostages freed.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a Gaza militant group that sometimes acts in coordination with Hamas, claimed in its Telegram channel on Tuesday that Katzir was dead.
Undated handout picture of former Israeli hostage Hanna Katzir, who was released on Friday. Bring them home via Reuters “We announce the death of the settler, Hanna Katzir, whom we had previously expressed our willingness to release — for humanitarian reasons — but the enemy’s procrastination led to the loss of her life,” said a post in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Telegram channel.
But after 49 days in captivity, IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari announced on Friday, Katzir has been freed.
Liat Bell Sommer, a spokeswoman for the Hostages and Missing Families Forum, said Katzir is mother to three children and has six grandchildren. She and her husband were inseparable, Sommer said.
“[Katzir’s] family and friends describe her as a woman with a big heart who would give of herself to others,” said Sommer. “She worked for many years as a caretaker in the kibbutz.”
The names of 12 other hostages were released on Friday. At least five of them are over 70 years old. Here are their stories:
Adina Moshe, 72, and Yaffa Adar, 85
Adina Moshe and Yaffa Adar were both kidnapped from the same community as Katzir, Kibbutz Nir Oz.
A video of Adar being driven into Gaza on a golf cart was widely shared on social media, as her three children and grandchildren pleaded publicly for her return. One of Adar’s grandchildren who was kidnapped alongside her remains in captivity.
Moshe is returning to her four children and grandchildren. Her husband Sa’id Moshe was killed by Hamas.
Hanna Peri, 79
Hanna Peri, a 79-year-old diabetic woman from Kibbutz Nirim, has lived and worked at the kibbutz’s grocery store since she immigrated to Israel in the ’60s from South Africa. She enjoys tai chi, gardening and taking care of her cat.
One of her three children was kidnapped and another was killed on the day she was kidnapped.
Ohad Munder, 9, his mother Keren Munder, and his grandmother Ruthy Munder, 78
Ohad Munder, 9, and his mother Keren were visiting their grandparents Ruthy and Avraham in Kibbutz Nir Or when they were kidnapped. On the day they were kidnapped, they had all planned to go to a family gathering.
Avraham remains under captivity.
Keren, 54, is a children’s volleyball coach and special education teacher in Kfar Saba, where she and her son live.
Ruthy, 78, was the librarian and seamstress of the kibbutz before she retired.
Doron Katz Asher, 34, and her daughters Aviv, 2, and Raz, 4
Doron Katz Asher and her two daughters, Aviv and Raz, were visiting their grandmother at Kibbutz Nir Oz when they were kidnapped. They live in Ganot Hadar, where Doron works as an accountant.
Doron’s husband Yoni Asher received a call from his wife telling him terrorists had entered the home she was hiding in. He later found videos on social media of his family crammed on the back of a vehicle.
Margalit Moses, 78
Margalit Moses is a cancer survivor with diabetes and fibromyalgia. Despite her health conditions she loves hiking and bird watching. She also enjoys knitting, and participated in a hat knitting campaign for a neonatal intensive care unit.
An avid traveler, Moses sailed in Norway last summer and plans to travel to Mozambique this winter.
Daniel Aloni, 44, and her daughter Emilia Aloni, 6
Daniel Aloni and her daughter, Emilia, were kidnapped on Saturday morning during a vacation to Kibbutz Nir Oz. In her last message to her family before the kidnapping, Daniel said she was afraid she would not survive because terrorists were inside her sister’s home.
Daniel’s sister Sharon Aloni-Cuino was also kidnapped along with her 3-year-old twins and husband.
Natalie Kainz is a news associate for NBC News.