Jerusalem, Oct 24 (EFE).- Yocheved Lifschitz, an 85-year-old woman who is one of four hostages released by Hamas, described to reporters on Tuesday how she “went through hell” when she was kidnapped by Palestinian militants on Oct. 7.
Lifschitz, who was freed on Monday night, said militants from Hamas, the Islamist group that governs the Gaza Strip, had taken her on a motorcycle from her kibbutz in southern Israel into the enclave.
“They took me, with my legs on one side and my head on the other, on a motorcycle,” Lifshitz said in remarks to the media at a hospital in Tel Aviv, adding that her captors had beaten her with sticks and had taken her watch and jewelry.
The 85-year-old was then made to walk several kilometers before reaching a tunnel to enter the Strip, describing Hamas’ “huge network” of underground tunnels as a “spider’s web.”
At the end of one of the tunnels she was taken to a large room where there were 25 other hostages. Two or three hours later she was taken with four other hostages to a separate room.
There, “they treated us well,” she said, pointing out that she was given food and medicine.
The al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ armed wing, on Monday night announced the release of Lifshitz and another Israeli woman, 80-year-old Nurit Yitzhak, following mediation by Egypt and Qatar, for what spokesman Abu Obeida called “compelling and satisfactory humanitarian reasons.”
The husbands of both women, who were also abducted, remain in captivity.
Lifshitz’s husband is well-known peace activist Oded Lifshitz, 83, who has transported cancer patients in Gaza to Israeli hospitals for treatment.
All four were abducted from their homes by Hamas in Nir Oz kibbutz on Oct. 7, when Hamas launched an unprecedented surprise attack on Israel, killing more than 1,400 people in addition to taking over 200 people hostage.
Israel has responded with an intense bombing campaign of the Gaza Strip, razing entire neighborhoods and killing over 5,700 people, according to Gazan health ministry sources.
Israel has also imposed a siege of the enclave, cutting off water and electricity supplies, leading to what the UN has described as a “dire” humanitarian situation.
The Israeli army said Tuesday that it is offering protection and financial compensation to residents of the Gaza Strip who provide viable information on the whereabouts of the 220 hostages captured by Hamas.
“If your will is to live in peace and to have a better future for your children, do the humanitarian deed immediately and share verified and valuable information about hostages being held in your area,” an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) statement said.
“The Israeli military assures you that it will invest maximum effort in providing security for you and your home, and you will receive a financial reward. We guarantee you complete confidentiality.” EFE