Yahel, left, Noiya, right, and their mother Lianne / BBC

British Family’s anguish over missing sisters in Gaza

The fate of two British teenage sisters who went missing after a deadly attack by Hamas on Israel remains unknown, as their family appeals for their safe return.

According to a report by the Independent, Noiya, 16, and Yahel, 13, were living in Kibbutz Be’eri, a communal settlement near the border with Gaza, with their mother Lianne, who was born in Bristol.

Lianne was among the more than 1,400 people killed by Hamas militants who launched rockets, drones, and tunnels into Israel on October 7.

According to the family’s spokesperson, the sisters are believed to have been kidnapped by Hamas and taken across the border into Gaza². The spokesperson said the family was in contact with the British authorities and hoped for a swift resolution of the crisis. “We are desperate for any news about Noiya and Yahel.

They are innocent children who have already suffered a terrible loss. We urge Hamas to release them and all the other hostages immediately,” the spokesperson said.

The British government has confirmed that six British citizens were killed and 10 were missing in the Hamas attack on Israel³. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement to the Parliament that the attack was a “pogrom” against the Jewish people and called for the immediate release of the 199 hostages taken by Hamas. He also expressed his solidarity with the Jewish community in the UK and said: “We stand with you now and always”.

The attack by Hamas, which controls Gaza, was the worst escalation of violence in the region since the 2014 war. The Islamist group claimed it was responding to Israeli aggression and oppression of the Palestinians, but Israel said it was an unprovoked act of terror that targeted civilians. The international community has condemned the attack and called for an end to the hostilities. The United Nations Security Council has demanded a ceasefire and the release of the hostages⁴.

The relatives of Noiya and Yahel, who have dual British-Israeli citizenship, said they were worried about their health and well-being in captivity. They said the sisters were bright and kind students who loved music and animals. They also said their mother Lianne was a devoted parent who moved to Israel from Britain 20 years ago and worked as a nurse.

“She was a wonderful person who dedicated her life to helping others. She was killed in cold blood by Hamas while she was at home. We are heartbroken by her loss,” they said. The family also expressed their sympathy for the Palestinian civilians who were suffering in Gaza under Hamas rule.

They said they hoped for a peaceful solution to the conflict and a better future for both peoples. “We know that there are many innocent people on both sides who want to live in peace and harmony. We hope that one day this nightmare will end and we will see Noiya and Yahel again,” they said.

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