Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

TEN Hamas hostages and nine murdered by the terrorist savages were from families helping the sick and striving for peace in Gaza, it was revealed yesterday.

The victims worked for no pay for the Road to Recovery charity which provided transport for sick Palestinian children from Gaza to Israeli hospitals.

AFPNine charity workers have been murdered by Hamas militants[/caption]

GettyBuildings have been left torn to the ground in the southern Gaza Strip[/caption]

Two Israeli hostages were released by Hamas last night, and one shockingly shook her captors hand

Twitter, AlfaiomiThe recently released hostage recalled being dragged through Hamas’ ‘spiderweb’ of tunnels[/caption]

Those captured and still being held include three volunteer drivers and long-time peace activists, Vivian Silver, 74, Haim Peri, 79 and Oded Lifshitz, 83.

Hamas are now holding the caring trio as “human shields” in underground bunkers – despite their age and health issues.

Grandfather-of-thirteen Haim was understood to need daily medication following a heart attack as he was abducted.

Mum Hagar Lotem, whose father Moshe drove Palestinians for medical care, along with her three children are also among the terrified captives.

A fourth who ferried Palestinian children to hospitals was Oded’s elderly wife Yochi was freed on Monday alongside, Nurit Cooper whose son Lotan was also a volunteer driver.

Lotan’s father Amiram Cooper was also still among the hostages last night.

The drivers were among a charity’s 1,300 volunteers in Israel and Palestine, who last year alone gave 1,650 Palestinian patients transport in their own cars to hospitals all over Israel.

Road to Recovery also ran fun days and beach trips for sick children every year after making 18,500 annual journeys to and from hospitals in their own cars.

The group also raised £400,000 towards critical medical procedures and equipment for needy Palestinian patients.

Another 420 trips were in mini buses, with volunteers driving just under one million miles – but Hamas repaid their kindness with unspeakable cruelty on October 7.

A large part of the funds came from money raised by Kibbutz Be’eri – one of the worst massacre sites where ten per cent of the 1,100 population were kidnapped or slaughtered.

But the group pledged to continue its work last night as war raged and a bloody Gaza ground offensive loomed.

Chief Executive Yael Noy said: “We remain hopeful and stand strong in our demand for the immediate return of our volunteers and their family members who were kidnapped.

“Our hearts and deep concerns are with the Israeli hostages held in Gaza and the Gazan patients and their families.

“Even with what’s happening now I have kept on talking to my friends in Gaza – there are dozens of Palestinian families who keep in touch with me.

“There is a 14-year-old girl in Gaza who had a kidney transplant from her mother carried out in Israel, and my father has been driving her once a week for seven years and she calls him grandfather.

“There is an Israeli woman whose kidney was found not to be suitable for one of her own family members so she gave it to a child from Gaza, and a woman from Gaza donated a kidney in return.

“We call for an end of violence and for compassion and demand the intervention of the international community in the immediate return of the hostages.”

The message was echoed by Lior Peri, the son of RtR volunteer driver Haim, who lost his British photographer brother Danny Darlington and Danny’s his German girlfriend in the attacks.

Lior, 50, a lighting technician living in Tel Aviv, said: “All his life my father was a peace activist.

“He used to attend demonstrations and lobby for the parties making the greatest peace efforts.

“But when he became too old for that, he decided to volunteer for driving the Palestinian children to hospitals.

“Please bring my father Haim back home.”

It comes as two Israeli hostages were released by Hamas last night after surviving 16 days “in hell” at the hands of their captors.

Harrowing footage showed the moment Brave Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, was freed from the grip of balaclava-clad Hamas gunmen alongside bfellow hostage Nurit Cooper, 79.

In the clip, a Red Cross worker can be heard saying: “It’s okay, let’s go… it’s okay, let’s go”.

However, just before she takes the first step to safety – Lifshitz pauses and turns to shake hands with the masked Hamas fighter.

She offers him the simple blessing “shalom” – a Hebrew word for peace, used by Jewish people to say both hello and goodbye.

This morning, Lifshitz spoke out about the “nightmare” she endured deep underground Gaza in the “spider web” of Hamas’s terror tunnels.

Through the two-week ordeal, Yocheved said she slept on mattresses on the floor close to 25 other cowering captives.

“They gave us pitta bread, hard cheese, some low fat cream cheese and cucumber. That was our food for the entire day,” she added, stating it was what her captors ate.

Yocheved described the experience as “hell”.

She also noted that Hamas seemed “really prepared” and that the operation appeared to have been planned for a long time.

“They schooled us with this terrible attack,” she said, while accusing Israel of ignoring Hamas’s threats to attack.

However, she also shared the reasoning behind why she shook the hand of her captor.

Sitting in a wheelchair, she told reporters that “they treated us well”.

Despite being kidnapped, beaten and dragged on the back of a motorbike, the grandmother shared that her captors were “prepared” and had a doctor visit them regularly.

Hopes remained high last night that 50 more hostages could soon be freed in a deal brokered by Egypt and Qatar – as more than 200 remained under an Israeli blitz on the besieged territory.

At least 12 British nationals have been killed and five are suspected to be among the hostages being held by Hamas, Downing Street officials said yesterday.

Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry said at least 5,791 Palestinians have been killed so far strikes on the enclave since October 7, including 2,360 children.

The overnight death toll was said to have reached a record 700 as as Israel came under increasing pressure to further delay its bloody ground offensive to destroy Hamas.

US commanders were said to have warned of a bloodbath costing many Israeli lives and intolerable civilian carnage which could ignite a huge regional conflict.

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin has reported to have urged his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant to be wary of the risks of attacking before a long-term plan was in place.

ReutersTraumatised Yocheved Lifshitz was dragged deep into Hamas’s lair, beaten and fed cheese during her horror ordeal[/caption]

GettySmoke rises as the Israeli airstrikes continue on its 18th day in Gaza City[/caption]

GettyHamas’ maze of tunnels spans for a staggering 311 miles[/caption]

GettyA trail of destruction has been left behind following a series of Israeli air raids on October 23[/caption]


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