Tuesday 24 October 2023

Elderly Hamas hostage released, says she was beaten and made to walk for miles through underground tunnels

 An elderly woman who was taken hostage by Hamas terrorists earlier this month was released Monday night. She claimed she was beaten and forced to walk for multiple hours in Hamas' underground web of tunnels in Gaza.

Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, was released on Monday, along with Nurit Cooper, 79. The two were abducted after Hamas launched a surprise attack against Israel on October 7, according to the Telegraph. The two are now said to be recovering at a hospital in Tel Aviv.

Though she said she was initially beaten and robbed by her captors, Lifshitz went on to claim there were others who were "courteous" to her, offering her pita sandwiches and shampoo. Lifshitz appeared before the media at the hospital on Tuesday, appearing exhausted from the incident.

“I went through a nightmare we couldn’t have imagined,” she said, stuttering as she spoke. Her daughter accompanied her to aid with translation. 

“They put me on a motorbike, took me through that fence that cost two billion shekel [£403 million] and did not help one bit. As we rode, the motorcycle driver hit me with a wooden stick. They didn’t break my ribs but it hurt a lot, making it difficult to breathe.”

Lifshitz said that she was originally grouped with 25 other hostages before they eventually were split into smaller groups. She was paired with four other people from her kibbutz, reportedly eating the same food as the Hamas fighters, sleeping on a mattress, and receiving treatment from physicians, per CNN.

"They really took care of the sanitary side of things so that we didn't get sick," Lifshitz said.

“They were very generous to us, very kind. They kept us clean,” she said. “They took care of every detail. There are a lot of women and they know about feminine hygiene and they took care of everything there.”

Lifshitz went on to criticize the Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet intelligence service for not taking threats from Hamas seriously when the signs were there. She said fencing that had been put up by Israel to keep Hamas out had done nothing to protect her community from the attack.

“The lack of awareness by Shin Bet and the IDF hurt us a lot,” she said. “They warned us three weeks beforehand, they burned fields, they sent fire balloons, and the IDF did not treat it seriously."

Lifshitz's daughter said her mother's position was that the "story's not over until everybody comes back."

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