Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson
Eitan Yahalomi, 12, hugged by his mother Batsheva as he reaches safety in Israel from Hamas captivity in Gaza, Nov. 27, 2023

Israelis returning from captivity in Gaza have reported that Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar met and spoke with the hostages while they were being held by the terrorist organization. So did Sinwar’s brother Muhammad, the Hamas commander over southern Gaza, according to Israeli journalists Moriah Asraf and Doron Kadosh.

Muhammed and Yahya Sinwar

In addition to a conversation in flawless Hebrew held initially by Yahya Sinwar, his brother Muhammad also spoke with the hostages, according to Galei Tzahal army radio.


One of the abductees from Kibbutz Nir Oz who returned from captivity noted that both Sinwar and his brother met with the Israeli abductees in underground tunnels in recent weeks.

Both assured the abductees that they were in a “safe place.”

Safe for Hamas, that is.

Devorah Cohen, whose 12-year-old nephew Eitan Yahalomi returned from captivity on Monday evening, had quite a bit to say about the way the boy was treated while being held by Hamas.

“He experienced horrors,” she said bluntly, speaking to the French BFM TV news outlet. “When he arrived in Gaza, everyone beat him, including ‘civilians’,” she said.

“Every time a child cried, they threatened him with a gun to keep him quiet. When [Eitan] arrived in Gaza, all the civilians, everyone hit him. We’re talking about a 12-year-old child!”

In addition, the boy was forced to watch “the horror film” — video footage of the terrorist group’s atrocities during its attacks in southern Israel on October 7.

“Yesterday we were so happy [that he was freed] … but now, when I know that, I worry,” Cohen said. “It’s unimaginable. I don’t know who can do things like that.”

Eitan was welcomed back into Israel at the Kerem Shalom crossing point by his mother Batsheva, 52 days after he was kidnapped from his home in Kibbutz Nir Oz. His father was shot by the terrorists while protecting his family during the invasion, and then he was dragged into Gaza as well.

Eitan’s father’s whereabouts and condition remain unknown.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.