Israel today said it is checking claims by Hamas that Kfir Bibas, a baby who was snatched and taken into Gaza by the terrorists, was killed in an Israeli airstrike alongside his mother and brother. Hamas’ armed wing Al-Qassam Brigades claimed, without providing evidence, that the 10-month-old baby, his mother Shiri Silberman-Bibas, 30, and four-year-old brother Ariel, were killed in an Israeli bombardment before the truce was announced. Kfir’s father Yarden, who was taken hostage by the terrorists, was not mentioned in the statement.
The Israeli military said it is checking the claims by Hamas that the little baby was killed alongside his mother and brother while they were being kept hostage by the terrorists. The IDF, which slammed Hamas as ‘cruel and inhuman’, said they have spoken to the Bibas family about the claims, which are massively overshadowing last-minute negotiations to extend the truce. The world had watched in horror on October 7 when footage emerged of Hamas terrorists dragging Shiri and her young family from their home in Nir Oz Kibbutz towards a waiting car. Video showed the sobbing mother clutching onto Kfir and Ariel as they were kidnapped, as horrified neighbors screamed: ‘She has a baby.’
The family had not been heard from since but there were hopes that they would be released by Hamas as part of a prisoner exchange during the truce between Israel and the terrorist group. But Hamas today claimed – without providing evidence – that Kfir, Shiri and Ariel were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Gaza in the days before the truce was announced. If it is true, that claim could provoke an explosive reaction from Israel as the family were among the highest-profile civilian hostages yet to be freed.
Previously, there were fears that nine-year-old Israeli-Irish hostage Emily Hand had been killed by Hamas terrorists but she was later found to be alive. The schoolgirl, who spent her ninth birthday in captivity, has since been released. The Israeli military said in a statement that they had spoken to Kfir’s family about the claims, before condemning Hamas for their ‘cruelty’ and ‘inhumanity’. The IDF said: ‘The terrorist organisation Hamas continues to act in a cruel and inhuman manner. IDF representatives spoke with the members of the Bibas family, informed them of the publication [of the claims] and are accompanying them at this time. The IDF is examining the reliability of the information. The responsibility for the safety of all the abductees in the Gaza Strip lies fully with the terrorist organization Hamas.’
The military added: ‘Hamas endangers the abductees, including nine children. Hamas is required to immediately return them to Israel. The IDF will continue to support the Bibas family as well as all the families of the abductees. The IDF works with all means, intelligence and operational, in order to return the hostages home.’ With his red hair and toothless smile, Kfir’s harrowing ordeal has become for many a symbol of the brutality of Hamas’ attack on October 7, which saw the terrorists massacre 1,200 Israelis inside their homes or as they tried to flee a music festival. Earlier today, Kfir’s family had said the baby, who has now spent more than a fifth of his young life in captivity, his brother and parents were not on the list of hostages set to be released later tonight. Yossi Schneider – Shiri’s cousin – told Israel’s Morning News that Kfir and his family members were not included on Wednesday’s list, and accused Hamas of ‘passing him from hand to hand like an animal’.
His comments came after an IDF spokesperson said Shiri, Ariel and Kfir are believed to have been handed off to Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) – a jihadist group that seeks to destroy Israel and has historically rejected any diplomatic engagement. ‘It’s like our personal Schindler’s list,’ Schneider said. ‘Every day we wait to see who will return and who won’t. This is like the list that chooses who will live and who will die.’ He questioned why Hamas had taken the 10-month-old baby and the four-year-old child in the first place, questioning what value they had as ‘bargaining chips’. ‘What were the Hamas terrorists exactly thinking of when they kidnapped them? What exactly were they afraid of? What did they think that Kfir could do to them? They are passing him from hand to hand like an animal. I don’t understand it.’
Schneider said waiting for news was ‘unbearable’. ‘The days are very long and we just wait for the list to come out today once again we have been left disappointed,’ he said, explaining that the family had learned that the young hostages had been passed on by Hamas to another terror group. He said: ‘They have been sold like some kind of pet. What sort of people are they using a 10 month old baby boy as an asset? They’re using him like a chess piece or a Monopoly card. The world needs to wake up and understand what’s happening. This [Hamas] is an evil organisation. Obviously, I’m happy for those who are coming out but we need our family back together. Hamas are playing with people’s lives. They’re not playing by the rules. Kfir’s family, like other relatives of captives, have been tormented since October 7. They have received no sign that he is still alive and wonder how such a helpless infant can cope with being in captivity for so long.’
‘The days are very long and we just wait for the list to come out today once again we have been left disappointed,’ he said, explaining that the family had learned that the young hostages had been passed on by Hamas to another terror group. He said: ‘They have been sold like some kind of pet. What sort of people are they using a 10 month old baby boy as an asset. They’re using him like a chess piece or a Monopoly card. The world needs to wake up and understand what’s happening. This [Hamas] is an evil organization. Obviously, I’m happy for those who are coming out but we need our family back together. Hamas are playing with people’s lives. They’re not playing by the rules. We haven’t seen our family for 55 days. Kfir hasn’t seen the light for 55 days. It’s crazy. We’ve heard from the hostages who have come back that they don’t have any food, they have lice, they are not able to take a shower. An adult could just about cope with this but can a child? Can a ten month old baby? I don’t think so.’
On October 7, Shiri and her husband Yarden, who was armed only with a pistol, had frantically sprinted to their safe room with their two young children as soon as they heard the gunmen trying to smash down their front door. Yarden had texted relatives ‘I love you all’ as they sheltered, with militants firing semi-automatic weapons outside their window, according to reports. Half an hour later, he ominously wrote ‘they’re coming in’, before communication ceased. The family has not been heard from since. Their family had hoped the family would be released during the truce, which is scheduled to expire on Thursday morning. So far 89 captives have been released and another ten are due to be freed on Wednesday night ahead of end of the temporary truce at 7am tomorrow.
Hamas terrorists still hold at least eight children as hostages in Gaza as the ceasefire enters its final day, as Qatari mediators said they were working for a ‘sustainable ceasefire’. Meanwhile, Hamas said today they are willing to extend a truce for four more days which would give them time to locate and free more Israeli hostages held by other terror groups. If Israel agrees to this, Hamas ‘would be able to release Israeli prisoners that it, other resistance movements and other parties hold during this period, according to the terms of the truce,’ the source added. Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesman Majed Al Ansari told a Doha news conference on Tuesday that negotiators were seeking ‘a sustainable truce that will lead to further negotiations and eventually to an end… to this war.’ Read the full story: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12805071/Israel-says-checking-Hamas-claim-ten-month-old-baby-Kfir-Bibas-killed-alongside-mother-brother-Gaza.html?ito=msngallery
Want more stories like this from the Daily Mail? Visit our profile page here and hit the follow button above for more of the news you need.