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Home ยป Family Seeks Answers After Israel Kidnap Live-Stream Horror

Family Seeks Answers After Israel Kidnap Live-Stream Horror

Image source, Facebook

Image caption, The attackers live-streamed Noam Elyakim and his family as they held them captive

By Frankie McCamley, James Bryant, Jamie Ryan & Robert Greenall

BBC News

Videos have emerged from the 7 October attacks by Hamas on civilians in southern Israel, showing some of those targeted being held in their homes and live-streamed by the attackers themselves.

More than a week on from the attacks, relatives of the victims desperate for information are using these videos to try to piece together what happened to them, and some have expressed frustration with the Israeli authorities’ lack of progress in finding their loved ones.

One of those is Nir Darwish, a UK-based relative of a family of five who disappeared from the Nahal Oz kibbutz.

The family – Noam Elyakim, his partner Dikla Arava, her 17-year-old son Tomer, and Noam’s two daughters Daphna, 15, and Ella, 8 – are seen apparently being held in their home by the attackers. The girls, who live with their mother, were thought to be visiting their father to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the kibbutz.

But on Monday this week, the extended family got news from the authorities that Dikla and Tomer had been killed and that their bodies had been found outside the kibbutz.

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Mr Darwish says that several photos posted by Hamas show Ella and Daphna in captivity. The BBC has been unable to independently verify this.

On Tuesday, Mr Darwish told the BBC that it had been confirmed that Noam – who is seen in the live-streamed video with a leg wound – was dead. The last photo of him appears to show him being led down a dusty road by the attackers.

Image caption, Nir Darwish said he found the video of the girls heart-breaking

Nir, a cousin of the Elyakims, believes the girls are in Gaza, and that Hamas is keeping them in a tunnel somewhere.

“They are sitting [in the photos] on a mattress and there is no natural light, so that’s 100% in Gaza,” he tells the BBC.

He adds that some time passed between the live stream and the photos being posted, which would have given the attackers time to get back to Gaza.

Mr Darwish said he and other family members found the video of the girls heart-breaking. He was very pessimistic about what would happen to them.

“Nobody wants to go through this and especially when it’s two little girls and especially when you know what’s going to happen to them, because they’re not going to give them water and food and treat them nice,” he says.

He said the planned Israeli ground operation was a “big mistake” and believes the military will never find the hostages.

The Israeli military says it is using “all intelligence and operational measures” for the return of the captives, whose presence at unknown locations in Gaza will greatly complicate any operation.

Image source, Facebook

Image caption, Family members posted pictures of the five on social media

The girls’ mother Maayan, however, is trying to stay upbeat. She spoke to the BBC from her home in Israel.

“Stay strong, look out for one another. Look out for daddy – daddy will look after you, and take care of you,” she says in a message to her daughters. “We are doing everything to bring you back. We are very strong here. We will bring you back.”

She described the girls, saying one loved to sing, the other to dance, and that they were inseparable.

Image source, Maayan Zin

Image caption, Daphna and Ella pictured with their mother when they were younger

The BBC has been unable to access the full half-hour of the live stream of militants inside Noam and Dikla’s house, but has seen extracts of it.

Filmed on Dikla’s phone, it appears to show the family sitting on a bench in their home. As it is streamed, shocked messages from friends and family can be seen on her screen.

Noam is injured, and losing a lot of blood from what looks like a serious leg wound. At one point, he limps away, escorted by one of the militants after they ask him for his ID card. His partner and daughters are clearly frightened.

Nir Darwish talks through with the BBC another part of the video, in which the attackers take Tomer out of the house to knock on doors of neighbours, to persuade them that the danger has passed and that they can come out.

He believes that this is to “make life easier for the terrorists… to capture them, kill them or whatever it is”.

No-one does come out of the house shown, but Nir says that later the attackers threw flaming tyres into the house to burn it down.

It is not clear if anyone died in this incident, but it is possible that these types of tactics were used elsewhere and did contribute to the loss of life.