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Carmel Valley man's mother among 2 hostages freed by Hamas

Nurit Cooper
Carmel Valley man's parents believed kidnapped during Hamas attacks
Rotem Cooper flyer
Screenshot 2023-10-23 at 2.53.35 PM.png
Posted at 2:57 PM, Oct 23, 2023

The mother of a San Diego man is one of two hostages Hamas released on Monday.

ABC 10News has confirmed 79-year-old Nurit Cooper, the mother of Carmel Valley resident Rotem Cooper, was freed by the group. The other hostage released was identified as 85-year-old Yocheved Lifshitz.

The International Committee of the Red Cross facilitated the release of the two women.

RELATED: Carmel Valley man's parents believed kidnapped during Hamas attacks

Nurit Cooper and her husband Amiram lived in an area outside of Gaza. Rotem Cooper said his parents were forced to seek refuge in their in-home bomb shelter when the Hamas attacks unfolded.

After not hearing from his parents for several days, Rotem Cooper arrived in Israel. He said the lack of blood and some phone tracking data pointed to his parents being kidnapped. 10News first spoke to Rotem Cooper about the kidnapping on Oct. 13.

Family friend and fellow Carmel Valley resident Ayelet Schori, whose brother-in-law was killed during the Hamas attacks, reacted to the release of Nurit Cooper.

"There is a mix of emotions. There is joy and excitement, but also continued worry for those still being held, including Nurit's husband," Schori says.

The Associated Press reported that the husbands of Lifshitz and Cooper were among those taken on Oct. 7. Hamas said it released the women on humanitarian grounds. The whereabouts of the men are unknown at this point.

The Family Forum of the Missing and Hostages released a statement Monday saying world leaders need to continue prioritizing the release of hostages from Hamas custody.

"Over 200 Israeli citizens are being held in deplorable conditions and have been waiting to return home for 17 days," the organization says. "We call on the Israeli government and world leaders to bring everyone home now. This is the first and only national and global mission that should stand before your eyes."

RELATED: 2 women held hostage released by Hamas, organization says

This is a developing story. An ABC 10News reporter has been assigned to this story and is working to gather the latest information.