Wed. Jul 17th, 2024

Hamas were “really prepared” for kidnapping Israeli citizens and holding them captive, a hostage freed by the militants had told the press in Tel Aviv.

Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, said “each person [hostage] had a guard watching him or her” after they were taken down into a network of tunnels under Gaza that looked like a “spiderweb”.

Seated in a wheelchair, a frail-looking Mrs Lifshitz said Hamas treated the hostages “gently” and had secret provisions for looking after them.

“They seemed really prepared for it. They had concealed it for a long time, and they took care of all the needs that people need, shampoo and conditioner,” she said.

Sharone Lifshitz, who lives in London, flew out to Tel Aviv and was by her mother’s side, translating parts of her description as she spoke to the press this morning.

Israel-Gaza war – latest updates

After describing her mother’s initial kidnap by motorbike – in which Hamas militants apparently struck her with sticks – Sharone explained there was also humane treatment during her captivity.

The freed hostage’s daughter told journalists: “My mum is saying they [Hamas] were very friendly towards them. They took care of them.

“They were given medicine. They were treated. One of the men with them was badly injured from a motorbike accident on the way.

“One of the paramedics gave him medicine and antibiotics.

“The people were friendly and they kept the place very clean.

“My mum is saying they were very delicate and caring with them, and took care of all their needs.”

She had earlier confirmed her mother was released on Monday evening.

Mrs Lifshitz later added the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) did not take the warnings of a possible Hamas incursion seriously before it happened.

She said Hamas had burnt fields and launched heavy shelling before its militants crossed the Israel-Gaza border.

Yocheved Lifshitz at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Centre after she was released by Hamas. Pic: AP

Yocheved Lifshitz at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Centre

Hamas said it released Mrs Lifshitz and Nurit Cooper, 79, on humanitarian and “poor health grounds” but their husbands are still being held prisoner.

The two women and their husbands – aged 83 and 84 – were snatched from their homes in Nir Oz, near the Gaza border, as Hamas began its massacre on 7 October.

The group released images of masked gunmen giving the women food and drink and leading them to the handover point, where Red Cross workers met them.

More than 200 people were kidnapped during the Hamas attack but only four have been freed – the other two being a US mother and daughter last week.

With many hostages still held prisoner, the US is understood to have asked Israel to delay its ground invasion so more can be freed.

The British Foreign Office welcomed the release of the women and vowed to “continue to work tirelessly” on securing the release of more.

A spokeswoman said: “Our thoughts remain with the families of loved ones still being held captive, as they endure unimaginable anguish and worry at this time.

“We will continue to work tirelessly with Qatar, Israel and others to ensure all hostages come home safely.”

Read more:
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Yocheved Lifshitz, left, and Nurit Cooper. Pic: AP

A senior Hamas leader told Sky News all civilians among the hostages would be released if Israel reduced the intensity of bombing Gaza.

“We want to stop the random bombardments, the total destruction, the genocide so that the al Qassam soldiers can take them from their places and hand them to the Red Cross or whoever,” said Khaled Meshaal.

“We need the right conditions to allow them to be released.”

More than 5,000 Palestinians have now been killed and 15,000 wounded in Israeli airstrikes, Gaza’s health ministry says.

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Hostages can be freed ‘under right conditions’

Israel is preparing for an expected ground invasion, with tanks and thousands of troops waiting for days for the order to attack – a move that’s likely to significantly increase casualties on both sides.

Defence minister Yoav Gallant told troops on Monday “it will come” and to keep preparing.

He said the attack would be from land, air and sea but gave no timeframe.

Around 1,400 people have been killed in Israel since the 7 October Hamas incursion, according to Israeli sources.

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The post Israel-Gaza war: Freed hostage says Hamas were ‘prepared’ for kidnappings and IDF did not take warnings ‘seriously’ appeared first on WorldNewsEra.


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