Among the hostages released on Tuesday were 59-year-old Gabriela Leimberg, her 17-year-old daughter Mia Leimberg and their family dog Bella. They and eight other Israeli hostages, as well as two foreign national hostages, were released in an agreed prisoner exchange with Israel five days into a temporary cease-fire.
Footage captured by The Associated Press on Tuesday showed Mia Leimberg walking next to Hamas militants while carrying Bella in her arms, before she climbed into a Red Cross vehicle.
Mia is a 12th-grade student at an arts high school in Jerusalem. She works at a bookshop. Her mother Gabriela immigrated to Jerusalem from Argentina in the 1990s. She is a social psychologist who runs a support center for adults with autism on Kibbutz Ramat Rachel in Jerusalem.
Bella the Shih Tzu is the family dog, who had gone with the family to Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak.
The Times of Israel reported Gabriela's husband and Mia's father Moshe Leimberg had been searching for Bella, believing the dog had survived the Oct. 7 attacks and might have been placed for adoption. Apparently, the dog was actually taken along with Mia and other family members.
The agreement between Israel and Hamas, which includes a pause in fighting, will allow for more hostages to be released by Hamas in exchange for more Palestinian prisoners set free from Israel. On Tuesday, Israel released 30 Palestinian prisoners.
The deal has also carved out stipulations to allow truckloads of desperately needed humanitarian aid to get into Gaza.
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