Dozens of Israeli civilians have been taken hostage by Hamas militants as part of the group’s surprise attack from Gaza that began on Saturday.
Families described the horror of losing contact with loved ones or learning of their fate by watching abductions captured on video and later shared on social media.
A man named Yoni Asher told CNN after losing touch with his wife Doron and the couple’s two daughters, he later saw them on video being loaded into a cart by militants. By tracking their phones, he realised they had been taken to Gaza.
“Later on when I saw the video there was no doubt,” said. “My wife and my two little daughters were on this cart. I know for sure they are taken.”
Mr Asher said his wife also had German citizenship and pleaded with officials in that country to assist in her rescue.
“Please help us,” he said. “We are begging for your help for you if you can do something.”
Elad Strohmayer of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs also brought attention to the case.
The family of Doron and her two daughters, Raz and Aviv, saw how they were kidnapped into Gaza by Hamas terrorists. Their family asked to share this so everyone will know the truth. There are many more Israelis who were kidnapped by Hamas terrorists. Israel is under a heinous… pic.twitter.com/iaiBcGK2DT
— Elad Strohmayer (@EladStr) October 7, 2023
“The family of Doron and her two daughters, Raz and Aviv, saw how they were kidnapped into Gaza by Hamas terrorists,” he wrote on X. “Their family asked to share this so everyone will know the truth. There are many more Israelis who were kidnapped by Hamas terrorists. Israel is under a heinous terror attack.”
Another family, whose account was reported by The Times of Israel , posted on social media that student Noa Argamani was one of those abducted.
She was seen on widely circulated footage being taken away on the back of a motorcyle screaming for help.
The abduction took place near a desert rave event Argamani had attended.
“I was supposed to go to the desert party but decided at the last minute not to,” her roommate, Amir Moadi, said, The Daily Mail reports. “We last heard from her around 10am or 11am this morning when she texted us all to say that terrorists had opened fire and were chasing everyone but that they were both safe in hiding.
“We haven’t heard from them since but then, unfortunately, we saw the disturbing videos of her abduction online,” Moadi added. “One of her on the back of a bike with terrorists.”
Another Israeli woman, Emma Segev, told The Jewish Chronicle about her fears that her family had joined the ranks of the abducted, after they were in a Kibbutz infiltrated by Hamas.
“They told us that Hamas were outside their door and they could hear Arabic and gunshots, but now things have gone silent,” she said. “I stopped breathing hours ago. Last thing we heard their house is on fire.”
Lt Colonel Jonathan Conricus of the Israeli Defense Forces told CNN on Saturday that Hamas is believed to have dozens of hostages in Gaza, but that the chaos of the war made finding an exact figure challenging.
“This is an extremely foggy situation,” he said.
“We bring good news to our (Palestinian) prisoners and our people that the al Qassam Brigades have dozens of captured (Israeli) officers and soldiers in their hands,” Abu Obaida, a spokesperson for Hamas’s armed wing, said in a post on Telegram, CNN reports.