The family of Mia Schem, a French-Israeli woman who spent 54 days in Hamas captivity after being shot and taken hostage at the Nova festival, have claimed she was operated on by a vet while trapped in Gaza.
Schem, 21, became one of the most high-profile captees after Hamas released a video in the early days of the war showing her recovering from surgery.
‘Hi, I’m Mia Schem, 21 years old from Shoham. Currently, I’m in Gaza. I was seriously injured in my hand. I underwent surgery on my arm at the hospital for 3 hours. They are taking care of me, giving me medicine, everything is fine,’ she was heard saying.
Schem was one of eight hostages released yesterday by Hamas hours before the seven-day ceasefire broke down and hostilities resumed early this morning.
Heart-rending footage showed her breaking down into tears as she hugged her mother and brother, knowing her ordeal was at an end, hours after she was handed over by Hamas gunmen to Red Cross workers as a mob of baying Palestinians watched on.
But Mia’s aunt told Israeli media her niece underwent less than stellar care in captivity. ‘She is thin, she is weak. A vet operated on her arm. She did not receive physiotherapy,’ she declared.
The extent of Mia’s injuries has not yet been verified.
Mia Schem, 21, reunites with her mother and brother following her release after being held hostage by the Palestinian militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip
Mia Schem is seen being released to the Red Cross as a crowd of Palestinians watch on
Schem, 21, became one of the most high-profile captees after Hamas released a video in the early days of the war showing her recovering from surgery
The Hostages and Missing Families Forum describes Schem as ‘a young woman with an old soul’ and says that she is studying tattooing, works at a tattoo parlour and enjoys drawing and cooking
Heart-rending footage showed her breaking down into tears as she hugged her mother and brother, knowing her ordeal was at an end
The Hostages and Missing Families Forum describes Schem as ‘a young woman with an old soul’ who was studying tattooing and worked at a tattoo parlour prior to her kidnapping.
Mia was seized by Hamas gunmen at the Nova music festival along with her friend Elia Toledano, 27. She is still believed to be held captive by Hamas.
Amit Soussana, 40, was released alongside Mia earlier on Thursday, with six more hostages following late last night.
Nili Margalit, 41, Sapir Cohen, 29, Shani Goren, 29, Ilana Gritzewsky, 30, Aisaha Ziadana, 17, and her brother Bilal, 18, were named as the final hostages released before the breakdown of the truce.
Ziadana’s father Yousef and eldest brother Hamza remain in captivity.
The IDF last night confirmed the six Israeli hostages were handed over by Hamas to the Red Cross.
‘According to the information provided by the Red Cross, six Israeli abductees were transferred to them and are on their way to Israel,’ a statement read.
But fears for other hostages grew last night after Hamas said they had the bodies of three Israelis to hand over, with a resumption in hostilities meaning the remaining 100 or so hostages in Hamas captivity will remain there indefinitely.
Hamas’ mention of three bodies prompted fears they could be those of ten-month-old Kfir Bibas, his brother Ariel, four, and mother Shiri, 32.
On Wednesday the military wing of Hamas had announced their deaths and blamed them on an Israeli airstrike – although they offered no proof.
Meanwhile, IDF officials said Hamas’ claims remain unverified.
IDF spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said: ‘Hamas’ claims about the Bibas family are still unverified. The published documentation is psychological terrorism.’
Mia Schem, a 21-year-old French-Israeli woman, is reunited with her family following 55 days in Hamas captivity on November 30, 2023 in Be’er Sheva, Israel
Schem is seen in captivity
Keren, mother of Mia Schem and representatives of the families of the abducted and missing persons held by Hamas militants in Gaza hold a press conference following the release of a video by Hamas
Within minutes of announcing the resumption of military action in Gaza, Israeli forces this morning bombarded the northwest with rocket fire, and aircraft were seen circling the skies overhead, according to the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Interior in Gaza.
The dramatic re-escalation of the conflict saw strikes land in the southern Gaza regions of Khan Younis and Rafah.
Reports indicate tanks have been swiftly positioned to the area, and in a tweet half an hour after the relaunch, the IDF said it had deployed ‘warplanes’ focused on the Gaza Strip.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Hamas ‘didn’t respect its obligation to release today all the abducted women and launched rockets toward the citizens of Israel.’
He insisted that because the conflict is now back on, the ‘government of Israel is obliged to accomplish the targets of the fighting’, which he claimed was to ‘release the hostages’ and ‘to liquidate Hamas.’
During the week-long truce, Hamas and other militants in Gaza released more than 100 hostages, most of them Israelis, in return for 240 Palestinians freed from prisons in Israel.
But more than a 100 hostages remain in Gaza.