Video released by Hamas Monday shows a 21-year-old hostage named Mia Shem, asking to be taken home to Israel as soon as possible.
It’s unclear if she was forced to make the statement, or when it was made. But a Hamas spokesman said non-Israeli hostages may be released, “if conditions allow.”
At the same time, a Bay Area couple is hoping to learn the fate of their family members, also believed to be held hostage by Hamas.
“We know that my sister-in-law is held by terrorist group Hamas, but we don’t know if she’s dead or if she’s alive,” said Yael Nidam of Berkeley.
Her in-laws Rimon and Yagev are believed to have been captured the day of the Hamas invasion Oct. 7.
Rimon texted the family during the attack.
“She could actually see the terrorists, running around the kibbutz where she was staying and going house to house, and she was getting really scared,” said Nidam.
Then came texts about bullets everywhere and explosions. Then a text reading, “‘I love you, I love you.’ And then that’s the last we heard from her,” said Nidam.
Family in Israel went looking for Rimon.
“My family went to try and find my sister. The houses were burned, the house, where she lived, was full of bullet holes and blood, but we could not find her,” said Nidam.
The Israeli military believes they have identified all the bodies in and around Rimon’s kibbutz , and Rimon and Yagev are not among them.
Renowned hostage negotiator, Gershon Baskin, told NBC’s Lester Holt that with Israel poised for an invasion of Gaza, time for a negotiated hostage release is rapidly running out.
“It’s a matter of days, probably a week, before Israeli ground forces go into Gaza, and that is when the window of opportunity closes,” said Baskin.
“I think about my sister-in-law all the time. It’s really difficult to sleep, eat, breathe without thinking about what’s going on with her,” said Nidam.
There is also the possibility Rimon and husband Yagev could be used as human shields. Still, she holds out hope for a better world.
“To work to abolish terrorism, to save the hostages, to save civilian lives in Gaza, and bring peace to a region that has so much suffering and pain,” said Nidam.
Source: NBC Bay Area