Former 85-Year-Old Hamas Hostage Speaks Out

( – Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, is a grandmother and one of the people taken hostage by Hamas fighters during the October 7th attack on southern Israel. Lifshitz was one of two elderly hostages released by Hamas on Monday, October 23rd, following the release of two American women days earlier.

Lifshitz described a “spider’s web” of tunnels beneath Gaza, explaining that she was held there in relatively good condition despite the experience being a hellish nightmare overall. She said that Hamas raided her kibbutz on October 7th, destroying a “special fence that cost $2.5 billion,” and was designed to protect them from just this sort of attack.

She witnessed and suffered beatings, and said the attackers did not distinguish between adults, elderly, or children. She said she was grabbed and forced onto a motorcycle and beaten with sticks during the ordeal, and that it was difficult to breathe.

Lifshitz said her watch and jewelry were taken by the attackers, and they brought the hostages into underground tunnels where they had to walk for “kilometers on wet dirt.” She said the network of tunnels under Gaza was vast.

The passageways are described as approximately 6 ft high with varying degrees of width. In some places, they are just one foot wide.

Military experts explained to NBC News that entering enemy tunnels is incredibly dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. It’s the one place that Hamas has the combat advantage due to it being their terrain.

Daphné Richemond-Barak is an assistant professor at Reichman University in Israel and is considered an expert on subterranean warfare and tunnels. He said that all sense of time and direction is quickly lost upon entering the labyrinthine catacombs.

Lifshitz said that she was told she wouldn’t be harmed and the hostages with her were all given food, water, and medical attention if they required it. The hostages themselves were separated into smaller and smaller groups and were closely guarded. She also said they had a paramedic nearby and a doctor who would check in on them every few days. She said they were kept very clean and fed the same food that the fighters ate.

She was also heavily critical of the Israeli government, blaming their failure of intelligence for the attack.

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