An Israeli grandmother who was abducted by Hamas earlier this month has now been released and recounted how she "went through hell."
Yocheved Lifshitz was held captive for more than a fortnight after being seized in the terror group's initial attack on October 7, which kicked off the ongoing conflict. She was released and returned to Israel via representatives of the Red Cross on Monday (October 23), although her husband Oded remains a hostage, reports 7News.
Appearing outside Sourasky Medical Centre in Tel Aviv, she said: "It was difficult, but we will get through this." With her daughter translating her story into English from Hebrew, Yocheved described the moment she was first snatched.
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She recalled how she was slung over a motorbike, with her head lying on one side of the vehicle while her feet dangled from the other as her kidnappers rushed her over the border to Gaza. "It was a painful act. They brought us into a gate. I was lying on the side on the motorbike. I got bruises because of the drive," she added.
She then described being led through Hamas' underground passageways after being beaten with sticks. Her daughter said: "They walked for a few kilometres on the wet ground.
"There is a huge, huge network of tunnels underneath. It looks like a spider’s web."
While she was treated horrifically by her captors, Yocheved doctors and paramedics were waiting to receive her when she arrived. She was initially held with 25 other people but then she was moved to a group of five taken from an area near her.
"As we got there, the people told us that they are people who believe in the Qur'an and they will not harm us, and we will get the same conditions they get in the tunnels," she said. "There were guards and a paramedic and a doctor who took care of the fact that we’ll have the same medicine that we need," she continued. The staff even "took care of the sanitary side of things so that we didn’t get sick”.
Liftshitz was released along with her friend and neighbour Nurit Cooper, 79. But while their hellish ordeal has finally come to an end, 200 more people still believed to be held hostage in Gaza.
“It’s not over until everyone’s home,” she said.
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