Tel Aviv [Israel]: Teenage siblings, who spent 50-days in Hamas' captivity in Gaza with the hope of reuniting with their mother, were shattered when they came to know the harsh reality that their mother has been murdered on October 7 attack in Israel.
Noam and Alma Or were released on Saturday.
They were forcibly separated from their parents and taken hostage by Hamas During their captivity in Gaza, they were confined to a house, sharing a room with another woman from their kibbutz, as described by Besorai, who also has roots in Be'eri.
Upon their release on Saturday, the harsh reality hit them: their mother had been murdered on October 7, a fact they were unaware of during their ordeal, CNN reported.
Speaking from the Philippines, the siblings' maternal uncle, Ahal Besorai, revealed the heartbreaking news. The family, residents of the Be'eri kibbutz near the Gaza border, experienced tragedy as Hamas targeted the community, killing over 120 residents, including children, and kidnapping others. The siblings' father, Dror, remains missing.
"My sister, their mom, was murdered on October 7. The children did not know that," he said, speaking to CNN from the Philippines. "We thought they were together when they were kidnapped, but they were separated from the outset."
"When they first crossed the border and reunited with their grandmother and older brother, the first news that they had to confront was the fact that their mom is no longer alive. And that was a terribly emotional and traumatic moment for them," Besorai added.
The Be'eri kibbutz, once a peaceful farming community near the Gaza border, turned into a scene of horror on October 7. Targeted by Hamas, the kibbutz witnessed the murder of over 120 residents, including children, and the abduction of others. The militants engaged in destructive acts, setting homes on fire, looting, and causing widespread devastation. In total, around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, fell victim to Hamas militants across southern Israel on that tragic day, CNN reported.
Besorai refrained from detailing their experience but said, "it wasn't pleasant, to say the least. It was horrible."
The truce between Israel and Hamas facilitated the release of hostages, including the siblings, who were not aware of their impending release.
Despite their ordeal, Noam expressed compassion for Gazans they encountered during the release.
Now free, the siblings are focusing on recovery, having lost weight during captivity. However, concerns linger about the long-term impact of the traumatic experience on their well-being.
"When I spoke to them, the first time I spoke to Alma, the 13-year-old niece, she had this enormously big smile and glittering eyes when she came to the Zoom call," Besorai also said.
"And this is what stuck in my head: What is behind these glittering eyes? What is deep inside them following this horrible ordeal? It is just very difficult for me to assess," he added, CNN reported.
Meanwhile, another 11 Israeli hostages were released by Hamas Monday night as part of the four-day ceasefire agreement - two women and nine children. The two women were each released with two of their children. There were also two sets of two brothers released.