RELEASED: Sisters Ela and Dafna Elyakim; witnessed murder of father and his partner

Mother Maayan Zin, who learned in a Facebook live video of the capture in Kibbutz Nahal Oz of her daughters, aged 8 and 15, has been tireless activist for their release

Ela (left) and Dafna Elyakim, who were kidnapped by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023 from their father's house in Kibbutz Nahal Oz. Released on November 26, 2023. (Courtesy)
Ela (left) and Dafna Elyakim, who were kidnapped by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023 from their father's house in Kibbutz Nahal Oz. Released on November 26, 2023. (Courtesy)

Sisters Ela and Dafna Elyakim, 8 and 15, were released on November 26 as part of a temporary ceasefire deal brokered by Qatar and the United States between Hamas and Israel. This is the story of their capture:

Ela and Dafna Elyakim, 8 and 15, were taken captive by Hamas terrorists on October 7, from their father’s house in Kibbutz Nahal Oz.

They were there to spend the Simhat Torah holiday with their father, Noam Elyakim, his partner Dikla Arava and Dikla’s son, Tomer Arava. Maayan Zin, the girls’ mother, lives in Kiryat Ono in central Israel.

The terrorists who entered the Nahal Oz home documented the attack on Facebook Live, recording the family seated in the living room where they were forced to identify themselves.

Father Noam, shot in the leg, was seen in the live feed bleeding heavily as his daughter Dafna wept beside him. The terrorists were filmed taking the parents’ identity cards and forcing Noam and Tomer outside. Tomer, 17, was taken at gunpoint to convince the neighbors to leave their protected spaces.

At some point, Dikla and Tomer refused to be taken captive and were shot and killed. Noam, Ela and Dafna were taken captive, but Noam’s body was later found and only his daughters, Ela and Dafna, were taken to Gaza.

Mother Maayan Zin, later saw a video of her daughters seated on mattresses in pajamas that weren’t their own, with two bandaged fingers on one of Ela’s hands.

Another picture of the girls also appeared on a Gaza news site, showing them sitting together on the floor, with a caption that said they’re in Gaza.

Zin said in interviews that she worried her girls saw their father, his partner and her son being murdered. She wondered who gave them other clothing, who was in the room when they put it on and what happened to Ela’s hand.

Both daughters were born after intensive IVF fertility treatments. In an op-ed for The Washington Post, Zin wrote, “I have nothing left to ask of this world but this: Take me to my girls. Take me to Gaza.”

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