ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 141

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Aisha, 17, and Bilal, 18, Ziyadne released; father and brother captive

Father Youssef Hamis Ziyadne and son Hamza, Rahat residents, still in Gaza after 55 days

Bilal (left) and Aisha Ziyadne, two Bedouin siblings kidnapped by Hamas on October 7, 2023, and taken to Gaza together with their father and older brother. Bilal and Aisha were freed on November 30, 2023. (Courtesy)
Bilal (left) and Aisha Ziyadne, two Bedouin siblings kidnapped by Hamas on October 7, 2023, and taken to Gaza together with their father and older brother. Bilal and Aisha were freed on November 30, 2023. (Courtesy)

Aisha, 17, and Bilal, 18, Ziyadne were released on November 30 as part of an extension of a temporary ceasefire deal brokered by Qatar and the United States between Hamas and Israel. Their father Youssef Hamis Ziyadne and brother Hamza are still captive. This is the story of their capture:

Four members of the Ziyadne family — father Youssef Hamis Ziyadne, sons Hamza and Bilal and daughter Aisha — have been unaccounted for since the morning of October 7, when the men were working in Kibbutz Holit as Hamas terrorists invaded the community.

Youssef, 53, married with two wives and 19 children, was working in the kibbutz cow shed while his 17-year-old daughter, Aisha, was spending time with her father. Two of his sons, Hamza, 22, married and father of two, and Bilal, 18 and single, were also working in the barn with their father and sister.

Hamas later posted a photo of Hamza and Bilal lying on the ground, stripped to the waist, guarded by armed men.

“The [Israeli] government was in touch with us, but doesn’t know where they are,” said Wahid Ahoziil, a volunteer for the Center for the Missing and Captives in the Arab community.

Both Bilal and Aisha are below the age of 19, and according to the terms of the truce between Israel and Hamas are eligible to be freed during the current halt in fighting.

Around 35 children and teenagers held by Hamas and other groups in Gaza have been released as part of a ceasefire deal that began Friday with an initial four-day truce, extended by an additional two days. At least eight more hostages are expected to be released on Thursday in a further one-day extension.

Aisha Ziyadne, 17, a Bedouin girl from near Rahat in southern Israel, abducted by Hamas on October 7 and taken to Gaza as hostage together with her father and two brothers. She was freed on November 30, 2023. (courtesy)

Ahoziil has been in touch with one of Ziyadne’s wives, who said they went to work early in the morning, around 2 a.m.

“They’re simple people, they do farm work, they work with their hands,” said Ahoziil. “They’ve been working for many years at the local kibbutzim, that’s their life.”

“They’re Arabic speakers,” added Ahoziil. “The daughter covers her head. They don’t go to work to fight anyone, but to work and make an honest living.”

Aisha, a quiet girl, is engaged to her cousin Rizeq, whom she plans to marry and start a family with after she graduates from high school.

Her brother Bilal loves animals and owns a horse and a camel.

The family lives in Rahat, in the Ziyadne neighborhood, named for their extensive family clan.

Bilal Ziyadne was taken captive by Hamas terrorists from Kibbutz Holit on October 7, 2023. He was freed on November 30, 2023. (Courtesy)

One relative, Abdul Ziyadne, 29, spent the weekend camping on Zikim beach, two miles from Gaza. He was shot so many times that his corpse looked like it had been “smothered” in bullets, a relative told The Guardian.

Another family member by the name of Yosef Ziyadne, a 48-year-old minibus driver, was hired to drive seven young women from the Supernova music festival that afternoon, reported The Guardian.

As he received panicked texts and calls about the unfolding massacre, he raced to the scene, packed 31 people into his 14-seater van and sped away through fields, avoiding Hamas gunfire, while other festival-goers followed him in their own cars to safety.

 

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