Israeli military says it has recovered footage of hostage mother and children

By Thomson Reuters Feb 19, 2024 | 11:43 AM

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The Israeli military released footage on Monday which it said showed Israeli woman Shiri Bibas and her two small children being moved by Palestinian militants in Gaza shortly after the family was kidnapped in southern Israel on Oct. 7.

The security camera footage showed what appeared to be a young woman carrying a child on her shoulder as she was wrapped in a long, light coloured covering in the yard of a building and transferred into a car.

The army said the footage was recovered a few days ago and came from the area of Khan Younis in southern Gaza. It said the images showed Shiri Bibas as well as her sons Ariel, who was aged four when he was kidnapped, and Kfir, the youngest hostage seized, who was nine months old at the time.

“The footage shows the terrorists wrapping Shiri and her babies in a sheet, trying to hide them,” chief military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told a news briefing, adding that the footage came from the day of their abduction.

“From the information available to us, we are concerned for the well-being of Shiri, Ariel and Kfir,” he said, adding that the family was held by a group called the Mujahideen Brigades.

The Bibas family released a statement calling for their immediate release.

“We desperately call on all decision makers in Israel and worldwide involved in negotiations: Bring them home immediately,” the family said.

The Bibas family – Shiri Bibas, her husband Yarden, as well as the two children, were kidnapped from Nir Oz kibbutz near Gaza and are among 134 hostages still held in Gaza.

More than 100 others, including most of the children abducted on Oct. 7, were released by Hamas during a brief ceasefire in November but the fate of the Bibas family remains unknown.

The Hamas attack on Oct. 7, in which Israel said 1,200 people were killed, triggered the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, in which health officials in the Hamas-run territory say more than 29,000 Palestinians have been killed.

(Reporting by James Mackenzie, Editing by Timothy Heritage)