‘Our lives stopped on 7 Oct’: Brother and girlfriend of Hamas hostages appeal for return of loved ones

todayJanuary 24, 2024 6

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‘Our lives stopped on 7 Oct’: Brother and girlfriend of Hamas hostages appeal for return of loved ones

The brother of two men still being held captive by Hamas in Gaza has said his life “stopped on 7 October”, the day his loved ones were taken.

Liran Berman said he “needs his little brothers home” as he spoke on behalf of the families and loved ones of more than 130 hostages who remain in Gaza.

The brothers were taken from their house in southern Israel, during the widespread attack by Hamas that left around 1,200 Israelis dead.

“No one can feel what we feel, no one can understand the suffering, our lives stopped on 7 October,” he said, speaking on Sky News’s The World With Yalda Hakim programme.

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Liran Berman's twin brothers

Liran Berman’s twin brothers

Mr Berman appeared alongside Ziv Abud, who was with her boyfriend, Eliya Choen, when he was taken from the Nova music festival in southern Israel also on that fateful day at the beginning of October last year.

She recalled the “terrifying” ordeal that occurred at the festival, and how she saw her nephew murdered in front of her eyes.

“After they took Eliya they [Hamas] came back to our shelter to finish the job, they took a gun and began to shoot everybody,” she said, adding: “I don’t know how I am here.

“I sat with more than 16 dead bodies in front of me for six hours.

“I am strong now for Eliya as I want him back, but what happened on 7 October was terrifying.”

Ziv Abud and her boyfriend Eliya Choen

Ziv Abud and her boyfriend Eliya Choen

Both Mr Berman and Ms Abud called for another humanitarian ceasefire in order for their loved ones to be released, similar to the pause in fighting back in November that allowed for the release of Israeli women and children in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.

“We were happy to have some loved ones back but we are pushing for a second deal,” Mr Berman said.

“We will take a ceasefire now, a humanitarian ceasefire to release our loved ones, but there needs to be an end to Hamas governing in Gaza. The Palestinians are suffering because of Hamas.”

More than 25,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since Israel invaded the territory after 7 October, according to the Hamas-run health ministry there.

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When asked if they would accept a ceasefire without Israel defeating Hamas, Mr Berman added: “Of course, we want the war to end, we didn’t want this war. Nobody wants to live in conflict.”

Ms Abud added: “We need world pressure, it is not just Israeli issues. It is a world conflict.”

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Moment relatives of hostages held in Gaza storm government committee

The appeal comes a day after dozens of family members of the remaining hostages stormed a meeting in the Israeli parliament to demand action be taken to release their relatives.

One woman held up pictures of three family members after entering a finance committee meeting in the Knesset, saying: “Just one I’d like to get back alive, one out of three!”

“I cannot blame them,” Mr Berman said when asked what his reaction was to the protest, adding: “If I was there I may have done the same.”

Watch our new foreign affairs show, The World With Yalda Hakim, from Monday to Thursday between 9pm and 10pm on Sky News.

Written by: Newsroom

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