A 21-year-old Israeli woman who was snatched from the Nova music festival and then paraded in a chilling Hamas hostage video has today been released by the terrorists in front of a baying crowd of Palestinians.
Terrifying footage shows Mia Schem surrounded by a screaming crowd and guarded by Hamas gunmen as she was walked from a car and handed over to Red Cross operatives this afternoon.
The French-Israeli hostage had been held captive for 54 days since October 7 when she was dragged away in to Gaza. In that time she was forced to film a propaganda video which showed the captive receiving treatment for injuries she sustained in her kidnapping.
But today she was finally released alongside 40-year-old Amit Sosana in Gaza City.
Video shows a terrified Amit being met by a Red Cross worker and quickly being placed in a waiting vehicle in front of the baying mob.
Seconds later, Mia, flanked by the gunmen and surrounded by hundreds of screaming men, looked petrified as she was put into the Red Cross vehicle.
Their release comes after the warring sides agreed to extend their ceasefire for a seventh day, while mediators pressed on with talks to extend the truce further to free more hostages and let aid reach Gaza.
Seconds later, Mia, flanked by the gunmen and surrounded by hundreds of screaming men, looked petrified as she was put into the Red Cross vehicle
Mia Schem, 21, who was seized at a dance party along with many of the other hostages abducted into Gaza, was released by Hamas today
The world watched in horror as Mia was paraded by the Hamas terrorists in a chilling video where she pleaded with Israeli officials to ‘get her out of Gaza’
Israel named the women as 21-year-old Mia Schem, who was seized at a dance party along with many of the other hostages abducted into Gaza, and 40-year-old Amit Sosana (pictured). Schem also holds French nationality
The world watched in horror as Mia was paraded by the Hamas terrorists in October in a chilling video where she pleaded with Israeli officials to ‘get her out of Gaza’. The video showed her injured arm being treated by an unidentified medical worker.
Her heartbroken mother, Keren Schem, was left reeling after she discovered her daughter had been abducted from the Nova festival, where 260 Israelis were massacred by Hamas terrorists.
But now, Mia has been released by the terrorists and handed over to the Red Cross.
Harrowing video showed Keren breaking down in tears and laughing in disbelief as she was told on the phone that her daughter had been released after an agonising seven weeks.
Mia’s father David told Israel’s Channel 12 TV on Thursday that when they meet, he will not say a word to her. ‘I don’t want to ask her questions, because I don’t know what she endured,’ he said.
On October 7, as the murderous gunmen armed with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns shot at the revellers at Nova festival, Keren said her daughter sent a friend a panicked message that read: ‘They’re shooting at us. Please, come save us!’
And then there was silence. For more than a week, Keren had no idea if her daughter was dead or alive. But on October 16, Hamas released the chilling footage of Mia pleading with Israeli officials to save her.
The video, which was published on the group’s official Telegram channel, shows the young woman speaking Hebrew as she addresses the camera directly.
She says she is from central Israel and that her captors are taking care of her.
In a heartbreaking message to the Israeli government, she says: ‘I only ask that you get me out of here as soon as possible. Please.’
After seeing the video of her daughter, Keren had begged ‘the world to bring’ her daughter home, with the anguished mother saying at the time she feared what the terrorists will do to ‘her baby’.
But today, that agonising wait is over, with Mia released by the Hamas terrorists in front of a baying mob in Gaza City during an extended truce.
The truce has halted bombing and allowed some humanitarian aid into Gaza after much of the coastal territory of 2.3 million people was reduced to wasteland in an Israeli campaign in retaliation for a deadly rampage by Hamas on October 7.
The release of Mia and Amit comes after photos showed other freed hostages embracing their loved ones and calling relatives from medical centres and military bases in Israel following their release on Wednesday.
Moran Stela Yanai, 40, held her sister and greeted her dog after arriving in Israel. She was among the ten Israeli and four Thai released as part of a deal between Israel and Hamas late yesterday.
Moran disappeared after the massacre at the Supernova music festival on October 7 where at least 260 were killed and 40 were taken back into Gaza by gunmen.
US-Israeli citizen Liat Beinin Atzili, 49, was also pictured at the Hatzerim Air Force Base late on Wednesday following her release. She was taken from her home in Kibbutz Nir Oz in southern Israel last month.
The six-day truce between Israel and Hamas was extended another 24 hours in a last-minute deal made on Thursday in an effort to free the remaining hostages.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement today that ‘a short time ago, Israel was given a list of women and children in accordance with the terms of the agreement, and therefore the truce will continue.’
Meanwhile, the family of hostage Kfir Bibas face an agonising wait for confirmation that the 10-month-old, along with his four-year-old brother Ariel and his mother Shiri Silberman-Bibas, 30, was killed in captivity.
Hamas yesterday claimed that the trio were killed in an Israeli airstrike shortly before the initial truce was struck on Friday, without providing evidence.
Video shows a terrified Amit being met by a Red Cross worker and quickly being placed in a waiting vehicle in front of the baying mob
Terrifying scenes show the two French-Israeli hostages being taken from a vehicle by balaclava-clad Hamas terrorists in front of screaming crowds
21-year-old Mia Schem, who was seized at a dance party along with many of the other hostages abducted into Gaza, was released by Hamas today
Amit Soussana, 40, who was taken hostage during the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas, has now been released
Mia Schem, 21, a French and Israeli citizen, was abducted from the Nova festival after Hamas terrorists descended on the site in southern Israel in paragliders, motorbikes and pick-up trucks on October 7. She has now been released by Hamas
The 21-year-old is a French and Israeli citizen (pictured in a TikTok video) who was held hostage by Hamas. She has now been released
Video released by her family shows Mia dancing and smiling with friends
Keren, mother of Mia Schem, had been campaigning for her daughter’s release
The fresh claims came just days after it was suggested Kfir and his family members had been handed to another militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
‘Our family has learned of Hamas’ latest claims,’ the Bibas family said, who are waiting for the Israeli military to either confirm or deny Hamas’s claim.
‘We are waiting for the information to be confirmed and hopefully refuted by military officials,’ the statement said.
‘We thank the people of Israel for their warm support, but kindly request privacy during this difficult time.’
The wider extension of the truce followed a last-minute standoff earlier Thursday, with Hamas saying Israel had rejected a proposed list that included seven living captives and the remains of three who the group said were killed in previous Israeli airstrikes.
‘In light of the mediators’ efforts to continue the process of releasing the abductees and subject to the terms of the agreement, the ceasefire will continue,’ the IDF said.
‘The deal has delivered meaningful results,’ US President Biden said of the pause so far.
‘Nearly 100 hostages have been returned to their loved ones. And the United States has led the international community to use this pause to accelerate the delivery of additional humanitarian assistance into Gaza.’
Ten Israeli citizens, including US-Israeli citizens, were released on Wednesday as part of the hostage deals.
They were: Raz Ben Ami, 56, Yarden Roman, 35, Liat Atzili, 49, Moran Stela Yanai, 40, Liam Or, 18, Itay Regev, 18, Ofir Engel, 17, Amit Shani, 15, Gali Tarshansky, 13, and Raaya Rotem, 54.
Hamas earlier released two dual Russian-Israeli citizens, Yelena Trupanov, and her mother Irena Tati, as part of a gesture to Russian President Vladimir Putin, unrelated to the deal with Israel.
Ninety-seven hostages have been freed since the start of the truce, according to a Reuters tally.
With Wednesday’s releases, a total of 73 Israelis, including dual nationals, have been freed, most of whom appear physically well but shaken.
Another 24 hostages – 23 Thais and one Filipino – have also been released.
Israeli officials say Gaza militants still hold around 30 women and children, who would all be released in a few days if the swaps continue at the current rate.
Israel says around 125 men are still held hostage, including several dozen soldiers. Hamas has released some men – mostly Thai laborers.
So far, most of the Palestinians released in return have been teenagers accused of throwing stones and firebombs during confrontations with Israeli forces.
Several were women convicted by Israeli military courts of attempting to attack soldiers.
Palestinians have celebrated the release of people they see as having resisted Israel’s decades-long military occupation of lands they want for a future state.
But talks appear to be growing tougher as most of the women and children held by Hamas are freed, as the militants are expected to seek greater releases in return for freeing men and soldiers.
Moran Stela Yanai, 40, embraces her sister, Lea Yanai, following her arrival in Israel after being held hostage, at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, in a handout image shared November 30
LEFT: Moran Stela Yanai embraces her sister following her arrival in Israel in an image released November 30. RIGHT: 49-year-old former Israeli hostage Liat Beinin Atzili speaks to her family at the Hatzerim Air Force Base following her release by Hamas amid an exchange operation of hostages against Palestinian prisoners, on November 29, 2023
18-year-old former Israeli hostage Itay Regev (L) reunited with his mother at the Hatzerim Air Force Base in southern Israel’s Negev desert, following his release on November 29, 2023
Moran Stela Yanai, 40, greets the family dog following her arrival in Israel, at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, Israel, in this handout image obtained by Reuters on November 30, 2023
Moran Stela Yanai, 40, embraces her loved ones following her arrival in Israel in this handout image obtained by Reuters on November 30, 2023
With Wednesday’s releases, a total of 73 Israelis, including dual nationals, have been freed during the six-day truce, most of whom appear physically well but shaken
Liam Or, 18, is reunited with his father shortly after his arrival in Israel last night after being released by Hamas
Hamas has claimed Kfir Bibas, a baby who was snatched and taken into Gaza by the terrorists, was killed in an Israeli airstrike alongside his mother and brother before the truce was announced six days ago
The Bibas family, father Yarden, mother Shiri, baby Kfir and four-year-old Ariel, were taken captive by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023 from Kibbutz Nir Oz
The image of the two young boys being carried by their weeping mother, Shiri, as they were marched from their homes was one of the most striking to be published in the early days of the Israel-Hamas war. It was hoped that they would be released tonight
The Israeli military said in a statement that they had spoken to Kfir’s family about the claims, before condemning Hamas for their ‘cruelty’ and ‘inhumanity’.
The IDF said: ‘The terrorist organisation Hamas continues to act in a cruel and inhuman manner. IDF representatives spoke with the members of the Bibas family, informed them of the publication [of the claims] and are accompanying them at this time.
‘The IDF is examining the reliability of the information. The responsibility for the safety of all the abductees in the Gaza Strip lies fully with the terrorist organisation Hamas.’
Speaking on the renewed truce, the Qatari Foreign Ministry said the terms of the extension would reflect the same as previous ones – Hamas is expected to release 10 Israeli hostages per day in exchange for 30 Palestinian prisoners.
The truce, extended from its initial four days, has brought the first respite in the bombardment of Gaza with much of the coastal territory of 2.3 million having been reduced to wasteland in response to a deadly rampage by Hamas militants into southern Israel on October 7.
Hamas, which freed 16 hostages in exchange for 30 Palestinian prisoners on Wednesday, said in a statement that the truce would continue for a seventh day.
The militant group earlier said Israel had refused to receive a further seven women and children and the bodies of three other hostages in exchange for extending the truce.
Netanyahu underscored on Wednesday that Israel will resume its campaign to eliminate Hamas, which has ruled Gaza for 16 years and orchestrated the deadly attack on Israel that triggered the war
Hamas’ military wing Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades are present as the prisoner swap between Israel and Hamas
Military personnel talk with each other as a helicopter carrying hostages released amid a hostages-prisoners swap deal
International pressure has mounted for the ceasefire to continue as long as possible after nearly eight weeks of Israeli bombardment and a ground campaign in Gaza that has killed thousands of Palestinians, uprooted three quarters of the population of 2.3 million and led to a humanitarian crisis.
Israel has welcomed the release of dozens of hostages in recent days and says it will maintain the truce if Hamas keeps freeing captives. Both sides had said they were ready to resume fighting.
Netanyahu underscored on Wednesday that Israel will resume its campaign to eliminate Hamas, which has ruled Gaza for 16 years and orchestrated the deadly attack on Israel that triggered the war.
‘After this phase of returning our abductees is exhausted, will Israel return to fighting? So my answer is an unequivocal yes,’ he said. ‘There is no way we are not going back to fighting until the end.’
He spoke ahead of a visit to the region by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to press for further extensions of the truce and hostage releases. Blinken arrived in Israel late Wednesday.
Before the truce, Israel bombarded the territory for seven weeks and killed more than 15,000 Palestinians, according to health authorities in the coastal strip.
Israel has welcomed the release of dozens of hostages in recent days and says it will maintain the truce if Hamas keeps freeing captives.
However, Israel has vowed to resume the war in an effort to end Hamas’ 16-year rule of Gaza, but it’s facing mounting international pressure to extend the truce and spare southern Gaza a devastating ground offensive like the one that has demolished much of the north.
Hostages who were abducted by Hamas gunmen during the October 7 attack on Israel are handed over by Hamas militants to the International Red Cross
A helicopter carrying Israeli hostages released by Hamas lands at the Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan
Newly released Israeli hostages sit among soldiers as they arrive inside a van at Ofakim army base in southern Israel
Hamas’ ability to negotiate and implement the ceasefire suggests that Israel’s air and ground campaigns have not seriously challenged the group’s control of Gaza, despite killing thousands of Palestinians and driving three out of four people in the territory from their homes.
Those who have been released now face a long road to overcoming the trauma of their extended captivity in Gaza.
The father of Emily Hand, an Irish-Israeli who was held hostage by Hamas for 50 days, has vowed to do ‘whatever it takes’ to help his nine-year-old daughter recover after revealing how she spent her ninth birthday running from missile strikes in Gaza.
Four days after his daughter’s emotional release, Mr Hand told The Sun: ‘She was a happy noisy kid, now she whispers. She’s been terrorised by terrorists in hell but as her dad it’s my job to make it better and I will.’
Blinken arrived in Israel late Wednesday on his third trip to the region since the start of the war, and is expected to press for further extensions of the truce and the release of more hostages.
Released Palestinian prisoners gesture as they disembark a bus upon returning from the Ofer Israeli military prison to Ramallah
Hamas’ ability to negotiate and implement the ceasefire suggests that Israel’s air and ground campaigns have not seriously challenged the group’s control of Gaza, despite killing thousands of Palestinians and driving three out of four people in the territory from their homes
Those who have been released now face a long road to overcoming the trauma of their extended captivity in Gaza
U.S. President Joe Biden was determined to secure the release of all hostages held by Hamas after American Liat Beinin was freed on Wednesday, the White House said in a statement.
The U.S. is urging Israel to narrow the zone of combat and clarify where Palestinian civilians can seek safety during any Israeli operation in southern Gaza, U.S. officials said on Wednesday, to prevent a repeat of the massive death toll from Israel’s northern Gaza attacks.
Jordan will host a conference attended by the main U.N., regional and international relief agencies on Thursday to coordinate aid to Gaza, official media said.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Wednesday the Gaza Strip was in the midst of an ‘epic humanitarian catastrophe,’ and he and others called for a ceasefire to replace the temporary truce.
China called on the Security Council on Thursday to formulate a ‘concrete’ timetable and roadmap for a two-state solution to achieve a ‘comprehensive, just and lasting’ settlement of the Palestinian issue.
For Palestinians in Gaza, the truce´s calm has been overwhelmed by the search for aid and by horror at the extent of destruction.
In the north, residents described entire residential blocks as leveled in Gaza City and surrounding areas. The smell of decomposing bodies trapped under collapsed buildings fills the air, said Mohmmed Mattar, a 29-year-old resident of Gaza City who along with other volunteers searches for the dead under rubble or left in the streets.
In the south, the truce has allowed more aid to be delivered from Egypt, up to 200 trucks a day. But aid officials say it is not enough, given that most now depend on outside aid. Overwhelmed U.N.-run shelters house over 1 million displaced people, with many sleeping outside in cold, rainy weather.