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Hostages' survival chances 'dwindle by the minute': Horror of Hamas tunnels recreated as family pleads 'bring them home'
16 January 2024, 08:09 | Updated: 16 January 2024, 09:01
Nick Ferrari's trip down a mock Hamas tunnel
A devastated relative of one of the hostages taken by Hamas told LBC today how his cousin was kidnapped by a ‘cheering mob’ on October 7.
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Eylon Keshet spoke to Nick Ferrari - as LBC viewed a harrowing recreation of the Hamas tunnel network at an undisclosed location in London.
Mr Keshet described how Yarden Bibas was taken hostage after being hit over the head with a hammer.
Yarden Bibas, 34, his wife, Shiri, 32 and their two boys, Ariel, 4 and Kfir, then 9 months, were abducted from Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7.
Video footage showed Shiri being taken hostage while carrying the two young children.
Mr Keshet said there had been ‘no sign of life’ from Shiri or the boys since they were kidnapped in October.
Their father Yarden was seen in a recent video “in very poor health” looking “very distressed.”
Hamas told him that his wife and children were dead, Mr Keshet said.
“We are afraid that he is going to pass on, that he will let go of living and won’t fight to stay alive,” Mr Keshet said.
“It’s very hard for us to keep fighting for so long. We did not think it would be this long.”
Nick Ferrari speaks to cousin of kidnapped Bibas family
He said Hamas had crossed “a basic moral line.”
“We didn’t think the world would let it keep going for so long.”
“Their chances of survival dwindle by the minute.”
Noa Argamani, 26, said Yossi Sharabi, 53, and Itai Svirsky, 38, died during strikes launched by their own military in the clip.
The claims, which she will have been made to say by her Hamas captors, have not been verified. Israel said the claim that Mr Svirsky has been killed by the IDF was a "Hamas lie".
In the video, Ms Argamani says they were killed by "our own IDF [Israel Defence Forces] strikes". Their bodies are shown at the end of the footage.
It came after the terrorists released a video of the three hostages and, sickeningly, said they would issue an update on their condition later.
In the first video, Ms Argamani appeared for the first time since she was kidnapped on October 7, confirming her identity before saying: "Stop this madness and return us to our families."
It is unclear when or where the clip was filmed.
It ended with the message: "Tomorrow we will inform you of their fate."
Hamas said on Sunday that it had lost contact with some hostages as Israeli forces shelled Gaza, noting that they might have been killed in the process.
At the start of the war, the group threatened to execute hostages in retaliation for Israeli military strikes.
Israel has said that it is aware of the risks to hostages from its offensive.
"The military operation takes time. It obligates us to be precise, and we are adapting it in accordance with the threats and the hostages who are in the field," chief armed forces spokesperson Rear-Admiral Daniel Hagari said on Sunday.
The IDF is committed to safely returning the hostages through 'increased military pressure'.
Army chief Herzi Halevi said on Saturday: "We do not forget and we will not forget, and we will continue to remind even those who try to deny it. We are fighting for our right to live here in safety."
"Tomorrow [Sunday, January 14] we will mark a hundred days since the beginning of the war. A hundred days in which the hostages are still held in Gaza by the cruel Hamas terrorists," he added.
"We are operating by all means, most of them covertly, in order to return them and we will continue to do so until we return them all."
During Hamas' October 7 attack, 240 people were taken hostage.
Around half were released in a temporary ceasefire in November but Israel says 132 remain in Gaza and that 25 of them have died in captivity.