The hostages Hamas took from Israel to Gaza: Stories of civilians in war

Trisha D.
3 Min Read

Around 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Doron Asher Katz called her husband. The 34-year-old was visiting her mother in the Nir Oz kibbutz, a communal settlement in the south of Israel, along with her two daughters, 2-year-old Aviv and 5-year-old Raz. “I got a phone call in which she was saying that they were locked down in the security room,” her husband, Yoni Asher, said in a telephone interview. Hamas militants had entered the family’s house.

Her mother’s partner had left the safe room to try to talk to the intruders, she told her husband. The attempt to negotiate was unsuccessful. Militants took him, Doron said. “I disconnected the phone call because I didn’t want her to be noisy,” Asher said.

That was their last call. Asher checked the geolocation of his wife’s cellphone later through his laptop, where her email was still logged in. “I saw that it was inside Gaza,” Asher said.

Then came the TikTok. A nine-second video in which a woman and two children — clearly scared — were being held on the back of a pickup truck. It was being widely shared on Saturday afternoon.

“I recognized them immediately,” he said. “That’s when I knew for sure that they were captives.”

Asher identified his wife and daughter Raz, in her purple dress, surrounded by men in military vests. He believes a second girl, being shielded under his wife’s arms, to be Aviv, but he could not make out her face. The Washington Post could not independently verify the location of where the video was recorded.

In the days since, Asher has not been able to locate any of his five family members who were in the house at the time of the attack — including his mother-in-law, Efrat Kat, 70, and her partner, Gadi Moses, 79. He says Israeli military officials told him that it was “most likely” that his wife, who also has German citizenship, and daughters were captive in the Gaza Strip. “I don’t think I need to describe to parents how that feels,” he said.

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