Families of teenage girls still captive in Gaza make desperate plea for their release

Five girls remain in Gaza over 90 days after being kidnapped from Nahal Oz


TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - JANUARY 06: People hold signs and photos of hostages as they take part in a rally calling for the release of all hostages held in the Gaza Strip on January 6, 2024 in Tel Aviv, Israel. More than 100 Israeli hostages captured on Oct. 7 remain held in Gaza by Hamas and other militant groups, according to Israeli authorities. (Photo by Amir Levy/Getty Images)

Among the roughly 128 hostages still held captive in Gaza are five teenage girls whose parents are desperate to secure their release.

Four of the five girls were seen bloodied and petrified in a haunting video shared by Hamas in the hours after their kidnapping, and parents of the young hostages have shared images from the video as they demand the girls’ immediate release.

In the images shared, Liri Albag, 18, Karina Ariev, 19, Daniela Gilboa, 19, and Agam Berger, 19, are sitting against a concrete wall, their hands bound behind them, their expressions showing shock and fear.

“Imagine if it was your daughter, your little girl in their hands,” Daniela's mother Orly told the Mail Online. “What would you imagine?”

Liri's father Eli, 54, said: “Think for one day that you don't have connection with your daughter and you know they are in the hands of bad people. Then tell me what you would say after 90 days. This is killing us. Every minute is like an hour.”

The four teens seen in the Hamas Telegram video were kidnapped from Nahal Oz army base, among the first stormed by terrorists, where most of the female soldiers were unarmed.

In the hours after their capture, the girls’ families tried desperately to contact them. The confirmation of their worst fears came when Hamas released a video of the girls bundled into a truck at gunpoint, and then the clip of them lined up against a wall in Gaza, bloodied and bound.

After the breach of the last ceasefire on November 30, the teenage girls, including 19-year-old Na’ama Levy, were left behind. Parents of the young hostages still in Gaza are fighting to ensure the girls are not forgotten, especially given the chilling revelations about Hamas’ systematic sexual abuse and rape of Israeli women on October 7 as publicised in a Times exposé at the end of December.

“We understood exactly what they did on October 7,” said Mrs. Gilboa. “If they are capable of this, what are they doing for 90 days? I don't want to imagine what is going on.”

Agam’s father Shlomi said during an interview with Esty Perez on KAN's radio Reshet Bet: "This is a young woman, 19 years old, one of the youngest left there, I don't want to entertain the thoughts of what might be happening to her there. People who returned talked about sexual abuse. I shut myself off and don't want to think about it – but we are fearful for her fate," he said.

Naama, kidnapped from kibbutz Nahal Oz, was identified in a now-infamous clip of a bound and bloodstained young woman being dragged into a Jeep by her hair. Many have speculated that the blood stains on her pajama pants indicate sexual assault.

Naama’s father Yoni, who described his daughter as a “positive, happy awesome girl, with a very big heart”, said he did not watch the footage. “I want to remember her [with] a smile, laughing. I need to be strong for her. I also hope that she can feel in some ways that we are fighting for her.”

Former hostage Chen Goldstein-Almog, 49, said she saw some of the girls in a flat in Gaza prior to her release as part of the ceasefire negotiations on 26 November.

“Some of them are close in age to my daughters and I hugged them so hard,” she said.

According to the Mail Online, Goldstein-Almog also said there were girls in captivity who spent “50 days and more alone.”

“When they were sad, crying, their captors would stroke them and touch them. They described accounts of sexual abuse under gunpoint on a regular basis.

“Some of the girls were badly wounded and haven't been getting proper medical care. Gunshot wounds, even lost limbs. They said they can cope with the disability but not with the manner they were constantly violated.”

Goldstein-Almog said the four girls taken from the Nahal Oz army base “haven’t lost hope”, but when she last saw them five weeks ago, “they were on the edge”.

“They need to be released. They cannot be there for one more day.”

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive