A leading UK tabloid newspaper, The Sun, featured on its front page Thursday the faces of the 32 children who were abducted from Israel and have been held hostage by Hamas since October 7, along with the banner: “Bring them home.”
“32 innocent children snatched by terrorists,” the paper declared in its main headline. “This is why Israel must fight evil of Hamas.”
The report was also placed on the homepage of The Sun’s website, which included a video showing scenes of some children being abducted by terrorists during the Hamas onslaught.
All 32 were taken when over 3,000 Hamas terrorists broke through the border from the Gaza Strip under the cover of thousands of rockets fired at Israeli towns and cities. In a murderous rampage, the terrorists overran communities and killed 1,400 people, most of them civilians. Entire families were murdered, in some cases burned alive in their homes.
Some victims were raped and then executed, and some mutilated, amid other atrocities.
Over 240 people of all ages were abducted and taken captive to Gaza.
— The Sun (@TheSun) November 1, 2023
“Who kidnaps children? Where in the world is that the right thing to do?” Maayan Ziv, whose daughters Ella Elyakim, 8, and Dafna Elyakim, 15, were abducted, said to The Sun.
On October 7, the two girls were visiting their father, Noam Elyakim, at Nahal Oz, a kibbutz near the Gaza border, where he lived with his partner, Dikla Arava, and her son, Tomer, 17.
Video Ziv viewed later appeared to show all five seated under duress, Dafna weeping and Noam bleeding from his leg, while terrorists make demands. Then she saw photos of the girls in a tunnel under Gaza, seated on mattresses in pajamas that weren’t their own. Two fingers on Ella’s hand appeared bandaged.
The bodies of Noam, Dikla and Tomer were found near the border with Gaza, according to media.
“Hamas should have released them all on day one. The kids have not done anything to anyone,” Ziv said. “They are not soldiers, they are not related to any conflict. You do not abduct babies and children.”
Hamas has not made any information available on the hostages’ condition or allowed the Red Cross to visit them. Two US dual citizens have been released, as were two elderly Israeli women whose husbands are still being held. An Israeli soldier was rescued from Gaza by Israeli security forces.
The Sun also highlighted the plight of Kfir Bibas, the youngest hostage at just nine months old. Kfir, his brother Ariel, 4, and mother Shiri, 32, were seen in a widely circulated video being forced into captivity from their home in Kibbutz Nir Oz. In the footage, a distraught and terrified Shiri was seen clutching her children to her chest as she was led away by a crowd of terrorists.
Her husband Yarden, 34, was also abducted. It is not known if he is being held together with the rest of his family.
Yarden’s sister Ofri Bibas Levy told The Sun that Kfir had just started crawling.
“It is inconceivable anyone would take a baby as hostage,” she said.
#WATCH: Israeli women and her two babies are still missing, 3 days after being kidnapped at gunpoint by Hamas.
Shiri Silberman-Bibas, 30, Kfir, 9 months old and Ariel 3 were seen being dragged away from their home by militants.#Israel #IStandWithIsrael #Israel_under_attack… pic.twitter.com/WRCtcOaE2f
— upuknews (@upuknews1) October 10, 2023
Other British media groups have also given attention to the plight of the hostages. The Daily Mail newspaper’s website, MailOnline — the most-read English-language news site in the world — has kept the war prominent on its homepage, publishing stories highlighting atrocities committed in the Hamas attack as well as interviews with the families of victims, along with reports of the humanitarian situation in Gaza as Israel attacks.
Meanwhile, some British news outlets have faced criticism of their war coverage, notably the BBC, which has been panned for refusing to label the Hamas attackers as “terrorists” and for rushing to report a Hamas statement blaming a deadly hospital explosion on Israel. Israel swiftly provided evidence showing the blast was caused by a misfired rocket from another Gaza terror group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The US has endorsed Israel’s version, saying its own intelligence probe backs it up.
Israel is conducting a military offensive it says is aimed at destroying Hamas’s military infrastructure, and has vowed to eliminate the entire terror group, which rules the Strip. It says it is targeting all areas where Hamas operates while seeking to minimize civilian casualties. Hamas and other terror groups have continued to rain rockets on Israel, displacing over 200,000 people and frequently forcing over a million into bomb shelters.
According to the Hamas-run health ministry, more than 9,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war, and more than 22,000 people have been wounded. The figures, which cannot be confirmed, would be without precedent in decades of Israeli-Palestinian violence. Hamas has been accused of artificially inflating the death toll, and does not distinguish between civilians and terror operatives. Some of the dead are believed to be victims of Palestinian terrorists’ own misfired rockets.