Update: Hostages Set Free, 199 Still in Captivity

It has been an extremely emotional weekend for Israel, and all who have been following the news here closely. We know many of you have been faithfully praying for the hostages to be set free, and it's been so wonderful to see this breakthrough!

50 hostages are to be set free, and many are in their family's embrace already. Over the last 50 days we have been getting to know these hostages as their stories have been told: peace activists, little babies, orphaned toddlers… and one man from Kibbutz Beeri famously saying he almost preferred to hear his daughter had been killed than taken captive, knowing how evil Hamas are.1 It later emerged his little girl, Emily, was in fact alive.

Seeing them reunited was an extraordinary moment, after the father, Thomas Hand, had let us into his thoughts and heart in these last terrible weeks.

Emily had lost her mother to cancer as a toddler, but several of the other hostages would return to devastating news that they too have lost parents, friends, and relatives.

In a separate deal, several Thai nationals who had been working in Israel were also released, and a Filipino named Gelienor “Jimmy” Leano Pacheco who had been caring for an elderly Israeli, Amitai Ben Zvi, who was murdered in the massacre. The sons of Amitai came to greet him as he came back into freedom, saying “It was so exciting to reunite with Jimmy, he's like family to us”.2 There will be a great deal to process to for all those who have been released.

In the handover, Hamas terrorists attempted to portray themselves as humane, urging the hostages to “keep waving” as they left.3 Many of those released still have relatives and loved ones held captive, and will be terrified of causing them any harm. Yet the press have not always covered the matter sympathetically, with Reuters referring to the children and elderly women “soldiers”, and Sky news even castigating Israel for valuing the lives of the Israeli hostages more than the Palestinian prisoners who have tried to kill Israelis.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian women and youths who have been released include those convicted for terror attacks, even though they may not have been successful in their attempts. One woman was burned in the fire she started, in her determination to bomb Israelis. Some have started declaring their intention to keep spilling Israeli blood as soon as they were released.4

In amongst the rejoicing, the entire situation is still fraught with horror and Israel continues to hold its collective breath.

How to pray:

Please pray for all those who have been released as they adjust back to life in Israel. Many will be in deep trauma.

Pray for their families and friends to be able to support them in the best way possible.

Please pray for all those left behind, for hope, encouragement, and that they would also be released: every last one.

Pray for Israel not to lose the advantage it had gained in defeating Hamas.

Pray for divine intelligence as the IDF continue in the mission to bring an end to Hamas and find all the captives.

Pray for salvation on all sides: In Israel, for the captives released and imprisoned, for those in Gaza, whether innocent or guilty.



  1. New York Post, Dad living in Israel recounts relief at learning daughter died: Being kidnapped by Hamas is ‘worse than death’, Melissa Koenig and Nicholas McEntyre, Oct. 12, 2023
  2. https://x.com/NoyHilda/status/1728738380010152106?s=20
  3. All Israel News, ‘Keep waving': Hamas posts video of releasing Israeli hostages, shows giving them instructions, 

  4. The terrorist Ruda Abu Ajamiya has just been released and she is already saying in the song “We are the sword” https://x.com/Saher95755738/status/1728174634120646895?s=20

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