Elderly captive released from Hamas praises captors for unexpected care (video)

Photo: Sanook.

An 85 year old woman revealed the reason for extending a farewell handshake to her Hamas captors, citing their good care and tenderness towards the elderly.

International news reported last night that Hamas had released two elderly Israeli women with health issues, citing humanitarian reasons.

In a Hamas statement, it was clarified that the captives, 85 year old Yosef Lifchitz and 79 year old Nurit Cooper, had been released from Gaza on humanitarian grounds.

Reports indicate that the US is advising Israel to halt ground attacks in hopes of negotiating additional prisoner releases with Hamas. However, this has not been effective as Israeli forces continued over 300 airstrikes in Gaza on Monday.

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Since the war between Israel and Hamas began on October 7 until today, it has been reported that Hamas has taken over 200 people hostage. Hamas has released four, including two Americans, a mother and a daughter who were released on Saturday, October 21.

During the prisoner release, it was observed that one of the elderly hostages, Yosef Lifchitz, paused and extended a handshake to a masked Hamas gunman, uttering “Shalom,” a gesture of peace.

Subsequently, Lifchitz spoke about her harsh yet caring 16-day experience as a hostage in Gaza.

She described that after initial violence, her Hamas captors displayed care and tenderness, which is a rare description amidst the brutal conflict that could lead to bloodshed. Some Israeli critics regard her views as a public relations success for Hamas.

Describing her ordeal, Lifchitz said it was like returning from hell. She was bound to a motorcycle and taken to Gaza, her watch and jewellery stolen.

She was held in an unspecified location, brought underground, and walked several kilometres through damp tunnels for two or three hours. A complex web of tunnels led to a large hall, divided into groups of 25.

Hamas Captives

The captives were treated better than expected. Hamas were gentle with the elderly, and well-prepared with necessary items and food.

They fed the hostages the same meals they ate and provided daily medical check-ups, medicines, and treatment for those injured, including a hostage injured in a motorcycle accident. She mentioned their concern about hygiene and the spread of diseases, cleaning the bathroom used by the hostages daily.

Lifchitz also criticized the Israeli security forces for ignoring warning signs that Hamas was preparing to attack three weeks earlier, leading to a severe and violent situation, reported Sanook.

However, nightmares still haunt her as she is unsure about the fate of other hostages, including her 83 year old husband. According to Palestinian authorities, Lifchitz and her husband are peace activists and human rights advocates, who have previously transported sick Palestinians from Gaza for medical treatment in Israel.

Asked why she chose to shake hands and say goodbye to the Hamas group, Lifchitz said it was because she had been well cared for throughout, hence the farewell gesture.

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Samantha Rose

Samantha was a successful freelance journalist who worked with international news organisations before joining Thaiger. With a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from London, her global perspective on news and current affairs is influenced by her days in the UK, Singapore, and across Thailand. She now covers general stories related to Thailand.

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