The father of an 18-year-old Israeli hostage — one of the youngest captives still in the clutches of Hamas — says he is afraid his daughter is being raped after former kidnap victims refused to answer his difficult questions about her condition.
Eli Albag, the father of Liri Albag, who was kidnapped from her bed by the Palestinian terror group during its deadly Oct. 7 attack on Israel, said Monday he learned from freed hostages that his daughter is alive but being kept in deplorable conditions — and potential sexually attacked.
“They say that they don’t have food, they don’t have water, they don’t take a shower, they’re sleeping on the floor, very cold humidity, 40 meters [130 feet] under the ground,” said the heartbroken dad of four, referring to survivors’ accounts of current hostages’ conditions, according to reporting by Express and Star. “And the most important issue, [the captors] are touching them.
“We know that some of the girls — it’s very difficult to say this — they attacked them, sexually, and we are worried, especially that they didn’t release them,”Albag said.
Thinking about the trauma his child is going through, Albag said, “I wake up in the morning alive and go to sleep dead. Each day.”
The Israeli father spoke to the media after meeting Monday with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary David Cameron during a lunch organized by Conservative Friends of Israel in London.
He told BBC News that when he asked a released female hostage if Hamas terrorists had sexually abused Israeli women, he could not get an answer out of her.
“She was silent but she moved her face so I understood that something happened there,” he recalled. “The hostage saw something, but she didn’t want to tell us.
“I understand they don’t want to talk about this, they don’t want to hurt us. But we understand. We really understand,” Albag continued.
“It’s difficult to say, and difficult to think, but I worry that they’ve done something wrong to these girls. I cannot understand them, I cannot understand these animals,” added the father, referring to Hamas.
Albag and family members of three other hostages pleaded with the British leaders at their meeting to put pressure on Qatar, which has been acting as a mediator between Israel and Hamas, to “choose a side” and help free their loved ones.
Albag said he knows from former captives that his daughter was physically uninjured for the first 50 days in Hamas captivity. She appeared in a propaganda video during that time. But there have been no sightings of her since.
Albag described his daughter Liri as the “happiest, who liked “music, who liked to dance.”
Standing outside the Houses of Parliament, he displayed two enlarged photos of Liri — one taken sometime before the Hamas attack and the other taken by her captors after her abduction.
In the second image, the 18-year-old looks terrified, with dirt caking her face and hoodie.
“Look at her eyes, they say everything,” her dad said. “This is what I see every day, every minute, every second, this photo. It’s flashing in my mind all the time and I cannot sleep, I have to take medicine.”
Albag told reporters that he looked Sunak in the eyes as he shared his daughter’s story with him and handed him a dog tag with the words, “Bring them home.”
Other family members who were present during Monday’s meeting said the British PM was very supportive and told them he is “going to do everything he can” to secure their loved ones’ freedom.
But Albag also issued a reminder to those negotiating for the hostages’ release that if sexual violence is being committed against Israeli women, it could result in a slew of unwanted pregnancies that soon will be too late to terminate.
“There is a limit of time to stop it,” he said.
Eli Albag’s wife, Shira, echoed her husband’s dire warning during a session of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, on Tuesday, a proceeding attended by former hostages and family members of those still in captivity, reported Haaretz.
“The cabinet needs to wake up, [as does] the world — time is running out,” Shira Albag said. “They should have been home a long time ago.”
She added that she “tries not to imagine the pregnancies.”
Ex-captive Aviva Siegel, who was on hand for Tuesday’s meeting, said Hamas terrorists turned the hostages in Gaza into “puppets with whom they could do what they wanted, when they wanted, and it’s beyond belief that they’re still there.”
Siegel said she saw the terrorists bringing female captives “inappropriate clothing, dolls clothes.”
“We’ll soon reach four months [since they were kidnapped]. We were there for 51 days, and there wasn’t a minute that we didn’t experience abuse — and they are still there,” she said.
About 100 hostages were released in November during a weeklong cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. About 132 Israelis still remain in Gaza.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday rejected “outright” a Hamas offer to release all the remaining hostages in return for the total withdrawal of Israel’s forces from Gaza.
Senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri responded to Netanyahu’s refusal by saying that it “means there is no chance for the return of the captives.”