Hanna Katzir, 77-yr-old Israeli woman held hostage in Gaza Strip released by Hamas on Friday

Hanna Katzir, a 77-year-old Israeli woman held hostage in the Gaza Strip, was released by Hamas on Friday, countering earlier claims by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) that she had died in captivity. Katzir, along with 12 other Israelis, had been taken into Gaza following the October 7 attacks on Israeli communities near the Hamas-controlled Palestinian territory.

The release occurred as part of an exchange between Hamas and Israel, and all freed hostages, including Katzir, underwent initial medical tests and were reported to be in good condition.

Conflicting Reports and Psychological Warfare:

Contrary to the PIJ’s assertion of Katzir’s death, Israeli sources, backed by her family, confirmed her release. IDF Spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari emphasized that relying on official sources is crucial, citing Katzir’s case as “proof.”

The PIJ, on Tuesday via Telegram, had claimed Katzir’s death, blaming the delay in her release on Israel. Israeli analyst Eli Kowaz characterized the false reports as “psychological warfare,” anticipating an intensification of such tactics.

Background and Continued Concern:

Katzir, a mother of three and grandmother of six, was initially taken hostage alongside her son and neighbors from Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7, during which her husband, Avraham ‘Rami,’ was killed. Katzir’s son, Elad, remains in captivity, with no recent information available.

A video released by PIJ on November 9 featured Katzir expressing longing for her family and home, two weeks before the false announcement of her death.

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