An 85-year-old Israeli woman was seen shaking hands with her Hamas captor after she was freed by the militant group on Monday.

In video footage released by Hamas, Yocheved Lifshitz is seen being led away from Hamas soldiers by two Red Cross workers who tell her, “It’s OK. Let’s go”.

After walking with the workers for a few steps, she turns back to one of the masked militants and pauses to shake his hand.

“Shalom,” she said, meaning hello, goodbye and peace in Hebrew.

When later asked by reporters why she turned back to shake his hand, Ms Lifshitz said her captors had treated her with “with softness and supplied all our needs”.

Following her release, the 85-year-old, who was freed along with 79-year-old Nurit Cooper, said she “went through hell” during her abduction but had been treated well while held captive in Gaza.

The gunmen “beat me on the way, they didn’t break my ribs but hurt me very much”, she said.

Mr Lifschitz said a paramedic regularly came to bring her medicine while held hostage and captives are being forced to sleep on mattresses in tunnels.

“They gave us pitta bread, hard cheese, some low fat cream cheese and cucumber and that was our food for the entire day,” she said, adding that the militant group was “really prepared” for the situation.

She also claimed Hamas had sent a warning weeks before the October 7 attacks, sending “balloons with fire and burning our fields”.

“The IDF didn’t take that seriously,” she said.

Hamas still holds the elderly husbands of Lifshitz and Cooper, among more than 200 other hostages.

The release of the two Israelis comes three days after that of an American woman and her teenage daughter.

The Hamas-run health ministry said 5,791 Palestinians have been killed since the war started, 2,360 of them children.

In Israel, over 1,400 people have been killed.

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees warned it would be forced to stop working in Gaza unless fuel deliveries were made to the territory by Wednesday.

“Time is running out. We urgently need fuel,” said UNRWA communications director Juliette Touma.

Six Gaza hospitals have already had to shut down because of a lack of fuel, the World Health Organisation said.

A small number of aid trucks have entered Gaza since the weekend, but they are only a fraction of the usual flow across the border.


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By Rahul

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