A British teenager who had gone missing after a devastating Hamas attack in southern Israel has been confirmed dead by her grieving family.
Thirteen-year-old Yahel, along with her sister Noiya and their Israeli father Eli, disappeared after the militant assault on Kibbutz Be’eri, which tragically claimed the life of their British-born mother, Lianne.
Yahel’s family, in an emotional statement to BBC News, described her as a vibrant, adventurous, and mischievous soul.
The heart-wrenching news is a stark reminder of the human cost of conflict, touching the lives of innocent families caught in the crossfire.
Lianne, aged 48, had initially moved to Israel as a volunteer on a kibbutz when she was 19 before deciding to make the country her permanent home.
She leaves behind a heartbroken family and friends who remember her as a beloved daughter, sister, mother, aunt, and friend who enriched the lives of everyone fortunate enough to have known and loved her.
Understandably shaken by the trauma, the family has chosen to keep their surname private during this challenging time.
The chilling chaos that unfolded in the Be’eri community is revealed through WhatsApp messages obtained by the BBC.
Lianne’s Account of the Hamas Attack on Southern Israel
When Hamas militants began targeting southern Israel with rockets at approximately 06:30 on October 7th, Lianne messaged her family about the terrifying situation.
She could hear gunfire and shout in Arabic nearby, and despite being familiar with security alerts due to her proximity to the Gaza barrier, she described this situation as a whole other story.
The attack also ensnared her husband’s brother Yossi, his wife Nira, and their three daughters.
Extended family members, concerned for their loved ones’ safety, refrained from sending messages, fearing that the sound of their phones could reveal their hiding places to the attackers.
Seven agonizing hours passed before they received word from Be’eri regarding the full scale of the attack.
Yossi and one of his children have now been officially declared hostages, leaving the family in an anguishing state of uncertainty.
British officials have confirmed that “at least” six British citizens died during the attack, while another ten are currently missing.
During a cabinet meeting, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pointed out that Hamas is responsible for the “murder and suspected abduction of British nationals.”
The situation is fluid and evolving, and there are concerns that some of the missing British citizens may be held captive.
International Development Minister Andrew Mitchell expressed the government’s “extreme concern” for the missing British nationals in Israel.
While he did not confirm discussions about the return of hostages via direct channels with Gazan authorities, he assured that the UK is doing “everything” it can to secure their release.