The family of Kfir Bibas, a baby who was snatched and taken into Gaza by Hamas terrorists during their October 7 attack on Israel, has said he and his brother are not among the hostages set to be freed tonight.
So far 89 captives have been released and another ten are due to be freed on Wednesday night ahead of the 7am ending of the temporary truce on Thursday.
Hamas terrorists still hold at least eight children as hostages in Gaza as the ceasefire enters its final day, and hopes were high that the 10-month-old baby – who has now spent more than a fifth of his young live in captivity – and his brother Ariel would be freed along with their parents Yarden and Shiri.
However, Yossi Schneider – Shiri’s cousin – told Israel’s Morning News that Kfir and his family members were not included on Wednesday’s list, and accused Hamas of ‘passing him from hand to hand like an animal’.
His comments came after an IDF spokesperson said Shiri, Ariel and Kfir are believed to have been handed off to Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) – a jihadist group that seeks to destroy Israel and has historically rejected any diplomatic engagement.
The family of Kfir Bibas (pictured), a baby who was snatched and taken into Gaza by Hamas terrorists during their October 7 attack on Israel, has said he and his brother are not among the hostages set to be freed tonight
‘It’s like our personal Schindler’s list,’ Schneider said.
‘Every day we wait to see who will return and who won’t. This is like the list that chooses who will live and who will die.’
He questioned why Hamas had taken the 10-month-old baby and the four-year-old child in the first place, questioning what value they had as ‘bargaining chips’.
‘What were the Hamas terrorists exactly thinking of when they kidnapped them? What exactly were they afraid of? What did they think that Kfir could do to them?
‘They are passing him from hand to hand like an animal. I don’t understand it.’
In separate comments, Schneider said waiting for news was ‘unbearable’.
‘The days are very long and we just wait for the list to come out today once again we have been left disappointed,’ he said, explaining that the family had learned that the young hostages had been passed on by Hamas to another terror group.
He said: ‘They have been sold like some kind of pet. What sort of people are they using a 10 month old baby boy as an asset?
‘They’re using him like a chess piece or a Monopoly card.
‘The world needs to wake up and understand what’s happening. This [Hamas] is an evil organisation. Obviously, I’m happy for those who are coming out but we need our family back together.
‘Hamas are playing with people’s lives. They’re not playing by the rules.
‘We haven’t seen our family for 55 days. Kfir hasn’t seen the light for 55 days. It’s crazy. We’ve heard from the hostages who have come back that they don’t have any food, they have lice, they are not able to take a shower. An adult could just about cope with this but can a child? Can a ten month old baby? I don’t think so.’
Earlier, Yarden’s cousin told MailOnline: ‘We still haven’t heard anything. We don’t know if they are alive or dead. We just want them home.’
The Bibas family, father Yarden, mother Shiri, baby Kfir and four-year-old Ariel, were taken captive by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023 from Kibbutz Nir Oz. Yossi Schneider – Shiri’s cousin – told Israel’s Morning News that Kfir and his family members were not included on Wednesday’s list, and accused Hamas of ‘passing him from hand to hand like an animal’
The image of the two young boys being carried by their weeping mother, Shiri, as they were marched from their homes was one of the most striking to be published in the early days of the Israel-Hamas war. It was hoped that they would be released tonight
Around 240 people were snatched by Hamas terrorists when they invaded southern Israel on October 7, killing at least 1,200, according to Israeli authorities.
Although dozens of hostages have been released the actual number held is unknown as many soldiers are thought to have been snatched.
Isreali officials are keeping quiet on them.
Among the other children being held is Gali Tarshansky, 13 years old from Kibbutz Bari. Gali had time to write to her family that terrorists had entered the house and were sawing the door of the police station.
She managed to jump out of the window and for three weeks she was declared missing until the family received a message that she had been kidnapped.
Tragically her brother Lior, 15, was murdered in the attack.
Mother Reuma said: ‘I can only imagine the horror my daughter is going through.’
Taken from the same kibbutz was Amit Shani, 16, as he slept with his mother. In a cruel twist he had been due for release earlier this week but was kept.
Hamas terrorists took him out of the hospital along with his mother and two sisters at gunpoint.
They put Amit in a car where there were other people and kidnapped him in front of the eyes of his mother and his sisters who were rescued among them Mika.
She said: ‘My mother was screaming at the terrorists to take her instead. She kept saying he’s just a boy he not a soldier but they didn’t listen.’
A teenage hostage clutches her dog, a Shih Tzu called Bella, as she is flanked by Hamas gunmen during her release
Hamas fighters accompany newly released hostages before handing them over to the Red Cross in Rafah
Ofir Engel, 17, was also in Bari kibbutz . From there he was kidnapped to the Gaza Strip his aunt Yael Engel said: ‘Every night we wait for the list and we hope and pray he is on it. The wait is unbearable.’
Aisha Alziadna, 17, is a Bedouin and thought to be the only Muslim taken by Hamas into Gaza and was snatched along with her father Yosef and her brothers Bilal and Hamza.
She was working with her father and two brothers on a dairy farm in Kibbutz Holit when Hamas terrorists kidnapped the four to Gaza.
At first the family thought they were murdered, but the IDF showed them a video in which they are seen in Gaza alongside the terrorists.
Yosef’s brother Ali said: ‘The army showed us footage of them being taken away to Gaza. Every night that goes by is very difficult for us. We just pray for their safe return.’
Liam Orr, 18 was kidnapped from his home at Bari Libby alongside his cousins, Alma, 13, and Noam, 18, Or (correct) and they were released earlier this week as part of the deal. No one from Liam’s family was willing to talk about his situation.
In return for the hostages 300 Palestinians have been freed from Israeli jails and the hope is the ceasefire will be extended into next week.
The comments from Kfir’s family came after Hamas yesterday handed over a fifth group of Israeli and foreign hostages, with negotiators now working to hash out another extension of the ongoing ceasefire set to expire later today.
The Israelis in the group were named as 36-year-old Rimon Kirsht, whose husband remains a hostage, Gabriela Leimberg, 59, and her daughter Mia, 17, who was filmed clutching her pet dog Bella as she was flanked by Hamas fighters.
The group also includes Mia’s aunt Clara Merman, 63, Argentina-born Ofelia Roitman, 77, Ditza Herman, 84, Tamar Metzger, 78, Merav Tal, 53, Philippines-born Noralin Babdilla, 60, and Ada Sagi, 75, whose British son Noam has been campaigning in Israel and London for her release.
The fifth group of hostages is also said to include two foreign nationals, who Israel says are from Thailand but have not yet been named, bringing the number of hostages freed yesterday to twelve.
Pictures showed the captives being escorted by balaclava-clad Hamas terrorists inside Gaza as they prepared to hand them over to the Red Cross and Israel, with crowds gathered around filming and jeering.
Israel in return released 30 Palestinian prisoners from detention centres in the West Bank and Jerusalem as per the terms of the agreement.
Now, officials are working to extend the ceasefire, with mediator Qatar signalling it was hoping for a more durable arrangement.
‘Our main focus right now, and our hope, is to reach a sustainable truce that will lead to further negotiations and eventually to an end… to this war,’ foreign ministry spokesman Majed Al Ansari told a Doha news conference.
‘However, we are working with what we have. And what we have right now is the provision to the agreement that allows us to extend days as long as Hamas is able to guarantee the release of at least 10 hostages.’
The fifth group of hostages is said to include nine women and one child
Family members arrive at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, Tel Aviv district, as hostages are expected to be released amid a hostages-prisoners swap deal between Hamas and Israel
One of the hostages was in a wheelchair as she was taken by Hamas fighters to be handed over to Israel
Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters speak with members of the Red Cross during the release of hostages in Rafah
The exchange of hostages and prisoners last night came as the reprieve in large-scale fighting appeared to be hanging in the balance after the IDF and Hamas traded accusations that the other side had violated the agreement for the first time since it came into force.
Israel’s Defence Forces (IDF) claimed three explosive devices were detonated near its troops at two sites in northern Gaza, with terrorists at one location then allegedly opening fire on them, which they returned gunfire.
Hamas also accused Israel of committing a ‘blatant breach of the ceasefire,’ which it said its fighters responded to, without providing details. Both sides have claimed they are committed to the ongoing ceasefire.
Amid the talks of extending the truce, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remaining resolute in his intention to crush Hamas as soon as the agreed-upon peace deal comes to an end.
A senior diplomatic source in the Knesset told The Times of Israel of negotiations to prolong the truce: ‘If there is a concrete proposal, the cabinet will consider it, but there hasn’t been anything like that.
‘If we see it’s a serious proposal, we’ll look into it.’
Those who have been released now face a long road to overcoming the trauma of their extended captivity in Gaza.
The father of Emily Hand, an Irish-Israeli who was held hostage by Hamas for 50 days, has vowed to do ‘whatever it takes’ to help his nine-year-old daughter recover after revealing how she spent her ninth birthday running from missile strikes in Gaza.
Four days after his daughter’s emotional release, Mr Hand told The Sun: ‘She was a happy noisy kid, now she whispers. She’s been terrorised by terrorists in hell but as her dad it’s my job to make it better and I will.’
Teenage hostage Mia was pictured flanked by Hamas fighters and clutching a dog during her release
Noam Sagi (L), 53, pictured with his mother, Ada Sagi (R)
Israel says it remains committed to crushing Hamas’ military capabilities and ending its 16-year rule over Gaza.
That would likely mean expanding a ground offensive from devastated northern Gaza to the south.
About 1,200 people were killed in Israel during Hamas’s bloody invasion on October 7 that ignited the war.
More than 13,300 Palestinians have been killed since the war began, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza.
Roughly 240 hostages were captured by Hamas, with just over 160 thought to still be in captivity following a series of exchanges with Palestinian prisoners.