ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 141

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'Nobody has seen Shiri'

Aunt of Ariel, 4, and 10-month-old Kfir Bibas: ‘We hope they aren’t held as a trophy’

Family calls for immediate release of Bibas family kidnapped from Nir Oz on October 7; two redheaded children are the youngest hostages still held in Gaza

Jessica Steinberg, The Times of Israel's culture and lifestyles editor, covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center

Ofri Bibas Levy, sister of Yarden Bibas, held hostage in Gaza with his wife, Shiri and two kids, Kfir and Ariel, speaks at a press conference calling for the release of the family, at 'Hostages Square' in Tel Aviv, Nov. 28, 2023. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Ofri Bibas Levy, sister of Yarden Bibas, held hostage in Gaza with his wife, Shiri and two kids, Kfir and Ariel, speaks at a press conference calling for the release of the family, at 'Hostages Square' in Tel Aviv, Nov. 28, 2023. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Ofri Bibas, the aunt of the two youngest hostages still held in Gaza, said Tuesday that she wants to believe that the delay in releasing her family during the lull in fighting is part of Hamas’s psychological warfare.

Her brother, Yarden Bibas, was taken hostage to Gaza on October 7, and his wife, Shiri Bibas, and their two redheaded children, Ariel, 4 and Kfir, now 10 months old, were abducted separately from their home in Kibbutz Nir Oz

The psychological warfare is “working really well because the last four days [since the start of the truce] have been a big nightmare,” said Ofri Bibas.

“I hope they’re not holding them as a trophy.”

With 30 children released and 10 still in captivity in Gaza, including Ariel and Kfir, and a total of 69 hostages released as of Tuesday afternoon, Bibas said she wanted to speak out for her family.

“We don’t know where they’ve been held. From what we know, they are kept underground,” said Bibas.

Israeli protesters call for the release of the Bibas family, whose members are being held hostage in the Gaza Strip by the Hamas terror group, in Tel Aviv, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023. The family’s 10-month-old son Kfir is the youngest hostage in Hamas captivity. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

She called upon the Israeli government, Qatar and Egypt, “everybody who is involved in this negotiation and this deal,” to do whatever they could to include the Bibas family in the ongoing truce deal, and for them to be freed as soon as possible.

“It’s time for them to be released,” she said.

The Bibas family — father Yarden, four-year-old Ariel, mother Shirli and baby Kfir were taken captive by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023 from Kibbutz Nir Oz (Courtesy)

Bibas said she couldn’t share any information about who is holding the family.

According to the IDF, the Bibas family was transferred by Hamas to another Palestinian terror group in Gaza, dampening hopes of their release during the current truce.

On X, IDF Arabic-language spokesman Avichai Adraee said the family had been transferred to another Palestinian terror faction in Gaza and is currently being held in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis. It was unclear exactly when the transfer occurred or which faction was holding them.

“Nobody has seen Shiri,” said Ofri Bibas. “I can’t give any other information.”

She said she wants to hope that they are in a “not completely known place, so it will take time to find them and bring them home, but it’s just my feeling,” said Bibas. “I don’t have anything official to say.”

Eylon Keshet, Yarden Bibas’s cousin, reiterated how important it is to get the Bibas family home, particularly given the young ages of the two children.

“There is no precedent for something like this,” said Keshet, noting that Kfir is a baby whose main source of food is formula and that Ariel has several medical conditions.

Eylon Keshet, cousin to Yarden Bibas, who, along with his wife Shiri Bibas and two children, Ariel and Kfir, are still being held hostage in Gaza on November 28, 2023 (Courtesy)

At 10 months old, Kfir is the youngest Israeli taken hostage to Gaza on October 7.

“These are not just pictures, this is a real baby there,” said Keshet, pointing to a photo of baby Kfir.

“Their grandparents have been killed, massacred,” he said. “Their home has been destroyed. They have so much pain in the future to keep living through.”

Shiri Bibas’s parents, Margit Silberman Shnaider and Yosi Silberman, also residents of Kibbutz Nir Oz, were murdered on October 7.

Margit Silberman Shnaider and Yosi Silberman were killed on October 7, 2023, by Hamas terrorists during a massacre of Kibbutz Nir Oz (Courtesy)

Yarden Bibas had a handgun on him that day and had gone out to defend the kibbutz, said Keshet.

He was later seen in a photo with a bleeding head, having been hit in the head by a hammer, and surrounded by a cheering mob of terrorists as they brought him into Gaza.

Meanwhile, Shiri was seen filmed holding her two redheaded babies, wrapped in a blanket, a look of terror on her face.

“Unfortunately, we do not believe that they are kept together,” said Keshet. “We really don’t know anything. We are in the dark here. We don’t know anything about their wellbeing, their condition and it’s a nightmare scenario for us.”

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