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Family of 10-month Israeli baby held hostage fear Hamas 'keeping him as a trophy' as he is not on latest release list
28 November 2023, 16:23 | Updated: 28 November 2023, 16:29
The family of a ten-month-old baby being held hostage by Hamas fear that he is being kept "as a trophy", as he is not on the list of captives to be released.
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Kfir Bibas and his parents and four-year-old brother have been moved to the southern city of Khan Younis, an Israel Defense Forces spokesman said on Tuesday.
Ofri Bibas Levy, the sister of Kfir's father Yarden, said later: "We're talking to you today because tomorrow is the last day of the current ceasefire.
"At the moment they are the youngest hostages still remaining in Hamas captivity," she was quoted as saying by the Times of Israel. "We don't know where they've been held.
"We're really worried about the 10-month-old baby with formula as the main diet."
Ms Bibas Levy said the process was "psychological torture" and added: "It's working really well because the last four days have been a big nightmare.
Khan Younis, the Gaza Strip's second city, is expected to be a target during Israel’s next offensive - raising questions that the baby is being used as a means to extend the truce.
Ms Bibas Levy added: "I hope they don't hold them as a trophy."
An image captured of the children and their mother during the attack remains one of the most distinctive taken during the beginning of the war.
The exact group holding the family remains unknown. But military analyst Michael Horowitz said: "It appears they may be in the hands of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).”
The PFLP are a Marxist–Leninist terror group.
It comes after Israel and Hamas agreed to a 48-hour extension to the four-day truce agreed upon last week.
Israel warned Palestinians living in Khan Younis to evacuate over a week ago, suggesting it is expected to be among Israel’s targets when the truce ends.
“We're asking people to relocate. I know it's not easy for many of them, but we don't want to see civilians caught up in the crossfire,” Mark Regev, an adviser to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, previously said.
Yoav Gallant, Israel’s defence minister, said that he believed Hamas would use the temporary cease in fighting to prepare for the IDF’s offensive.
“We will fight in the entire strip,” he said.
A Hamas source said that 40 hostages were currently not under its control, CNN reported.
Israel and Hamas have been fighting for seven weeks, since Hamas launched its raids into southern Israel, killing 1,200 and taking about 240 hostages back into Gaza. Some 14,800 Palestinians have been killed in the ensuing Israeli bombardment and ground invasion, Gaza health authorities have said, with hundreds of thousands more displaced.
The two sides called a four-day truce on Friday to release hostages and let aid into Gaza. The truce was extended until Wednesday on Monday.
Israel had been releasing three Palestinian prisoners per one hostage set free by Hamas.
A spokesperson for the terror group said the deal would continue along the same lines for the next two days. On Monday, three-year-old twins Emma and Yuli Cunio were released by Hamas, alongside nine others.
A total of 58 people, including 39 Israelis, have been released over the ceasefire's first three days.