Aunt of Bibas kids held hostage in Gaza: ‘You can see the inhumanity. Kidnapping children is a war crime’

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

Shiri, Ariel, and Kfir Bibas seen in a video in Khan Younis on October 7, after they were kidnapped from Kibbutz Nir Oz, in a video released by the IDF on February 19, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)
Shiri, Ariel, and Kfir Bibas seen in a video in Khan Younis on October 7, after they were kidnapped from Kibbutz Nir Oz, in a video released by the IDF on February 19, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

Ofri Bibas-Levy, sister of hostage Yarden Bibas, aunt to his sons Ariel, 4, and Kfir, 1, and sister-in-law to Shiri Bibas, says that when they saw the video from Gaza, it “tore our hearts out.”

The IDF relaesed footage yesterday showing mother Shiri Bibas and her two young children surrounded by gunmen in the Gaza Strip hours after they were abducted by Hamas-led terrorists on October 7.

“It was really difficult to witness Shiri, Ariel and Kfir being ripped from their home in Nir Oz into this hell,” says Bibas-Levy. “You can see the inhumanity of those actions. Kidnapping children is a war crime.”

Ofri Bibas-Levy, sister of Yarden Bibas, speaks on February 20, 2024 (Screen grab)

“When it happened on October 7, we didn’t think it would take so long,” says Shiri’s cousin Aylon Keshet. “We were shocked and it was heartbreaking but it’s such an unimaginable evil and crime against humanity that we were naively sure the world wouldn’t let it happen.”

Keshet says Hamas is solely responsible for what has happened.

“We’ve all been taught that there are international organizations that need to take care of a problem like this and we’ve been handled with disrespect and accusations when we’re just trying to get a baby and his brother and his parents back,” says Keshet. “There is no justification for this kind of behavior.”

Keshet says the Middle East conflict has nothing to do with the issue of the hostages.

“This is a humanitarian global crisis — whatever people think about political complexities, it’s a baby in a freaking jail, all right? How can people be so silent about it?” he exclaims.

“We don’t want to bury three generations of a family,” says Keshet, noting that Shiri’s parents were brutally murdered on October 7 in their Nir Oz home.

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