An Israeli mother broke down in tears as she told how she and her daughters escaped capture by Hamas but her husband and son were taken hostage.
Batsheva Yehalomi told Sky News she and her family woke at around 6.30am on 7 October to the sound of “gunshots outside the house” and “many rockets”.
She and her husband Ohad along with their three children – a 12-year-old son, a 10-year-old daughter and an 18-month-old baby girl – ran to their safe room.
Mrs Yehalomi told Sky’s Kay Burley: “We went into the safe room and we waited there. Then we understood something was very different.
“We heard gunshots outside of the house – on the windows and the walls. We heard people shouting ‘Allah Akbar’ in Arabic. We smelt fire and smoke – it was very, very scary.”
Follow latest: ‘Very difficult period’ ahead for IDF in Gaza
More than 200 people were taken hostage by Hamas into Gaza during the initial attacks on 7 October.
They are thought to be inside the network of underground tunnels Hamas has built under the territory.
So far, one hostage has been freed by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and four have been released.
After two hours in the safe room, Ms Yehalomi’s husband left to see what was happening.
“He went out. He had a small gun and he waited,” she recalled.
“At about 10am, the terrorist bombed the house – and they shot the door and they shot my husband.
“They opened the door to the safe room and my and my three children were sitting together. They started shouting at us, pointing at us with their guns and talking in Arabic. But they said ‘come, come’ in English.
“They wanted to take us into Gaza, so we went out of the safe room and we saw my husband sitting on the floor, injured, bleeding, but he was talking to us.
“He told us he loves us and that we should go with them.”
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Mrs Yehalomi tried to put her baby girl in her husband’s arms in the hope they wouldn’t take her – but they did, she said.
Through tears, she described how she and her children were placed on motorcycles with men from Hamas.
When her baby started to cry, she was passed her by one of the men – leaving her, her daughter and the baby on one bike – and her 12-year-old son Eitan alone with a man on the other.
Through tears, she said: “We started driving through Gaza. We saw lots of terrorists. We saw the kibbutz burning – everything was burning.”
‘We don’t know if he’s alive or not’
Mrs Yehalomi recalled how two IDF tanks appearing near the border with Gaza shocked the men on the bikes – causing hers to crash and giving her the chance to escape.
She said: “Our motorcycle was falling. This was the last time I saw my son. His motorcycle continued together.”
An emotional Ms Yehalomi added: “We ran away. We managed to escape through the fields.
“We went three-and-a-half hours. It was very scary because we saw all the time terrorists around us and many rockets above.
“But we managed to arrive to the northern part of the kibbutz. I’d seen from afar it wasn’t burning there so I decided to go there.”
Once back in the kibbutz, she was helped by Israeli soldiers who enabled her to call her husband’s sister and instruct her to go to their house to find him.
But she said: “I thought he was there, but after many hours someone entered the house and he was not there – they took him also.
“We don’t know if he’s alive or not – he’s injured. So my husband, my son – I don’t know what’s going on with them.”
Woman’s ‘nightmare’ after five family members kidnapped
Hadas Kalderon spoke to Sky News about her family – five of whom were kidnapped on 7 October.
“Five members of my family have been kidnapped – two of them have been murdered already,” she said.
“The whole reason I came the whole way here is I want to save my children that are still alive.
“I’m talking to your heart and all of the UK’s hearts, all the people, you probably have families.
“I want you to imagine for one minute your small young child has been taken, in a cruel way, from their safe house – their bed – with just pyjamas – no shoes – taken suddenly and then disappeared for unknown time. You don’t know when you’ll see them again.”
She described how after years “under bombs” her 12-year-old son suffers from panic attacks and is unable to sleep without his mother and his toys.
“He can’t sleep alone, he needs me,” she said. “It’s one month now. Every day we wake for hell – this nightmare.”
Israeli officials are demanding the unconditional release of all the hostages being held by Hamas.