‘Great relief’: Israel’s embassy in PH welcomes Babadilla’s release
MANILA, Philippines — The Embassy of Israel in the Philippines felt “great relief” that Noralyn “Nataly” Babadilla is now freed from Hama captivity.
The 60-year-old Filipino caregiver was among the 200 civilians held hostage by the Palestinian militant group since they launched a surprise attack on Israel on October 7.
Babadilla was visiting close friends in Kibbutz Nirim located in Negev, Israel, which is near the border with the Gaza Strip, when Hamas members seized her.
She was released during a temporary Israel-Hamas truce after 53 days in captivity in Gaza.
However, Babadilla’s partner, Gideon Babani, was reportedly killed during the Hamas attack on Israel.
“Noralyn is currently undergoing medical evaluations at Tel HaShomer Hospital in Israel to ensure her well-being,” the Embassy of Israel in Manila said in a statement posted on X (formerly Twitter) on Wednesday morning.
Before Babadilla’s release, another Filipino caregiver, Gelienor “Jimmy” Pacheco, was freed by Hamas after 49 days in captivity.
“All Filipino nationals have been accounted for,” the embassy said.
The Israeli government gave assurance that both Babadilla and Pacheco will receive support as “given to all Victims of Terror,” it added.
On Sunday, the Israeli government announced that Pacheco and his immediate family will receive lifetime social security benefits and regular stipends similar to those given to Israelis who are victims of terrorist attacks.
The Embassy of Israel in Manila expressed hope that 150 more hostages, including nine children, will be safely freed by Hamas.
“The Israeli government is committed and will do whatever is needed to bring them back home,” it said.
The ceasefire agreement allowed the release of civilians trapped and held captive in the war, which has so far claimed the lives of 1,200 people in Israel, according to its government.