JERUSALEM, Nov 28 — Ten-month-old Kfir Bibas has spent more than 50 days of his young life in captivity in Gaza and, according to Israel, has been handed over by Hamas to another Palestinian militant group in a possible complication of efforts to free him.

Today, members of his extended family pleaded with the Israeli government and mediators of an Israel-Hamas truce from Egypt and Qatar to help get him, his parents and brother released.

Hamas infiltrators seized baby Kfir, four-year-old Ariel and their parents Yarden and Shiri after bursting into southern Israeli towns on October 7, killing around 1,200 people and prompting an Israeli military offensive that has killed more than 15,000 people according to Gaza health authorities. Kfir is the youngest of the 240 hostages Israel says were captured.

Video of the incident showed a terrified Shiri clutching the children in a blanket as they were bundled into captivity. Another clip showed Yarden with a head injury from hammer blows, Ofri Bibas, Yarden’s sister, said.


She told reporters the family was not to be included in the expected release of 10 hostages today. Relatives of repatriated hostages have been informed in advance by authorities.

Hamas has freed 50 Israeli women and children hostages, along with 19 foreign hostages, since Friday as part of the truce in which Israel has released 150 Palestinian prisoners and increased aid shipments into Gaza.

Israel’s chief military spokesperson, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, said in a briefing that Kfir, Ariel and their parents were being held by a Palestinian faction other than Hamas. He said Hamas bore exclusive responsibility for them.


Another military spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Avichay Adraee, said the family was in the area of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

Hamas has not given the locations or condition of the estimated 170 people it still holds.

“The understanding that we will not, for now, get the hug we had so hoped for leaves us speechless,” the Bibas’ extended family said in a statement to the media.

Jimmy Miller, a cousin, told Channel 12 TV: “Kfir is only 10 months old. He is a child who still doesn’t even know how to say ‘Mommy’. He still isn’t eating solid food. He doesn’t have the ability to survive there.

“We in the family are not managing to function ... The family hasn’t slept for a long, long time already - 51 days.”

Last week, Yosi Shnaider, another cousin, described the hostage family as “simple people who thought they were going to live in heaven” - a reference to Kibbutz Nir Oz, the bucolic border village from where they were seized. — Reuters