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Six months after their kidnapping, what happens to the French Hamas hostages?

183 days of waiting.

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Six months after their kidnapping, what happens to the French Hamas hostages?

183 days of waiting. Six months after the October 7 massacre, around 130 people remain trapped in the Gaza Strip, in the hands of Hamas terrorists. Last November, a truce between Israel and the Islamist group allowed the release of 105 hostages. Among them, four Franco-Israelis: Eitan Yahalomi, 12, Erez Kalderon, the same age, and his sister Sahar, 16. Mia Schem, 21, was also released a little later, without her friend Eliya Toledano, 27, whose body was found in the Palestinian territory by the Israeli army in mid-December.

But three French nationals remain captive. What do we know about their situation? In an article published by Foreign Affairs magazine, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak estimates that only half of the remaining hostages are still alive. But information remains scarce. Le Figaro takes stock of their situation.

Ofer Kalderon led a peaceful life as a carpenter and kitchen fitter on Kibbutz Nir Oz, on the border with Gaza. On October 7, he was kidnapped in Gaza with his two children, Sahar and Erez, released in November. Ofer was granted French nationality by his ex-wife, Hadas, who moved heaven and earth in Israel to find him. “Knowing him so ‘close’, she can’t get away from him,” her cousin Ange Kalderon told Le Figaro, to justify her absence during the tribute ceremony organized in France on February 7.

The family has not had any news since the release of the hostages in November. An elderly woman, Yosheved Lifshitz, who was among the first wave of freed hostages, said she saw Ofer alive during the first days in Gaza, despite a leg injury. “No one has any information,” confirms Ange Kalderon. Does the family still have hope? “As we say: if the Jews lost hope, we would no longer be here,” sighs the cousin, who nevertheless testifies to mixed feelings of “sadness, revolt, bitterness and impatience”.

Also a carpenter by profession, Ohad Yahalomi was also kidnapped from Kibbutz Nir Oz, one of the hardest hit by the October 7 massacre. His wife Batsheva and two daughters were also captured, but managed to escape. Ohad was taken with his son Eitan, finally freed thanks to the November truce. Ohad was also injured in the leg while trying to defend his house against the terrorist attack.

The last news of Ohad Yahalomi was in January, when a Gaza terrorist group, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, released a video of him being treated and speaking to the camera. But there is no indication when the video was filmed. Since then, the man has given no sign of life. “We are not in a process of mourning or loss, we are in a zone where we have never been before,” summarized his sister, Ayala Yahalomi Luzon, to AFP last February.

This Franco-Mexican was kidnapped by Hamas when he came to attend the SuperNova music festival. He was the boyfriend of Shani Louk, the young Israeli-German woman infamous for having been filmed, limp, half-naked and tortured by armed men in the back of a truck, before being killed. Shortly after October 7, the tabloid The Sun revealed that threatening messages in Arabic had been sent to Orion's friends. But again, no news about the young man has leaked.

Questioned last February by France 2, his mother is convinced “that he is alive”. “I can’t imagine otherwise.” She hopes that he will be “released during the next truce”, which is slow to take shape. Marie-Pascale Radoux is a fervent supporter of a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, which she called for last January to AFP. “I also ask Hamas to take care of my son, because he had physical weaknesses,” she implored.

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