IDF Releases Captive Footage of Dafna and Ella Elyakim in Gaza

By Yoni Weiss

A large mural reading “Now” at the Hostage Square in Tel Aviv, May 16. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

In a rare move, the IDF aired footage found in Gaza showing sisters Dafna and Ella Elyakim while they were held captive. The video, released on Sunday at the family’s request, depicts 8-year-old Ella Elyakim in Gaza, days after her abduction from her father’s home in Kibbutz Nachal Oz on Oct. 7. In the video, Ella addresses the camera, saying: “I am Ella Elyakim, the daughter of Noam. I am 8 years old and I am asking Bibi (referring to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu) to release us because I am a Hamas hostage.”

The IDF emphasized that the footage was shared at the family’s request. Ella explained that the terrorists forced her to re-record the video multiple times, changing her clothes, styling her hair, and applying a bandage to create a façade of proper treatment, despite the harsh conditions and frequent relocations she endured. Military sources highlighted this as evidence of Hamas’ cruelty towards an 8-year-old child.

Additional footage discovered included a photograph of the two sisters with a Hamas flag in the background. The photo shows 15-year-old Dafna Elyakim looking dejected, while her younger sister appears unaware of the gravity of their situation. On Oct. 17, ten days after the massacre, the body of their father, Noam Elyakim, Hy”d, was found. His daughters, Dafna and Ella, were documented as being kidnapped and taken to Gaza. The family was attacked in their home in Kibbutz Nachal Oz by Hamas terrorists while they slept.

IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari provided further details: “During the operation in Gaza, IDF forces uncovered footage shot by Hamas terrorists for psychological terror purposes. The footage was shown today to the family of Ella and Dafna Elyakim, who were kidnapped on October 7 and later released as part of a prisoner exchange deal.”

He continued, “The video released today was intended as a tool for Hamas’ psychological terrorism. Despite this, Ella’s family requested its public release to expose the terrorism, cruelty, and barbarity of Hamas. Ella reported that Hamas gunmen forced her to read a script, change clothes, and repeatedly re-film the disturbing video.”

Hagari concluded, “Our hearts go out to Ella, her family, and all the families of the hostages. Please honor Ella’s family’s wish by sharing this video widely. We will continue to do everything in our power to bring all hostages home.”

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