Thursday, June 20, 2024

Mexican hostage Ilana Gritzewsky released from Gaza

A Mexican woman who was taken hostage by the Palestinian militant group Hamas during its attack on Israel on Oct. 7 was released from Gaza on Thursday.

Foreign Affairs Minister Alicia Bárcena announced the release of Ilana Gritzewsky Camhi on the X social media platform.

Ilana Gritzewsky (left) has been released, but Orión Hernández (right) is still held by Hamas. His German-Israeli girlfriend, Shani Louk, was also abducted on Oct. 7, and was confirmed dead on Oct. 30. (Social media)

“In the name of the Mexican government, we are deeply grateful to the government of Qatar for its invaluable mediation,” she said.

“I also thank the National Intelligence Center of Mexico for its excellent coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in this process. We’ll continue working for the release of the other compatriot held in Gaza, Orión Hernández, and the two Mexican crew members on the ship Galaxy Leader,” Bárcena wrote, referring to the vessel hijacked by Yemen’s Houthi militia in the Red Sea last month

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that “the release of the Mexican national comes after Mexican authorities, with the intervention of friendly countries, took multiple actions in a strictly confidential manner, in order to safeguard the safety of all involved.”

Gritzewsky, a 30-year-old dual Mexican-Israeli citizen who has been living in Israel since she was a teenager, was one of eight hostages released from Gaza on Thursday, the seventh – and ultimately final – day of a truce between Israel and Hamas.

Video footage showed her smiling and waving at cameras as she stood alongside Hamas militants shortly before she was released. Gritzewsky, apparently in good health, subsequently bid her captors farewell 54 days after she was abducted from her home in Nir Oz, a kibbutz in southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip.

Her 24-year-old boyfriend, Matan Zangauker, was also abducted and is still being held in Gaza.

According to an El País newspaper report, Gritzewsky was born in Quintana Roo and moved to Israel at the age of 16 when she received a scholarship for the Naale program, which enables teenagers from the Jewish diaspora to complete their high school education in Israel for free.

Her father and sister also live in Israel, but her mother and brother live in Mexico.

Gritzewsky, a pastry chef, was reportedly in Mexico for two months earlier this year before returning to Israel on Oct. 2, just five days before she was kidnapped.

Two other Mexican women were trapped in Gaza amid Israel’s retaliatory strikes on the coastal enclave. However, doctors Michelle Ravel and Bárbara Lango – both of whom had been living in Gaza for some time and were not taken hostage – crossed into Egypt in early November.

The Mexican Air Force evacuated over 700 Mexicans from Israel on several flights in October.

With reports from El País and Reforma 

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