I’m lucky I was able to keep her. She kept me busy, emphasized Mia Leimberg, a 17-year-old girl who was released by Hamas from captivity during the week-long truce. The teenager was released carrying her beloved dog named Bella in her arms.
October 7, the day on which Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel, Mia Leimberg with her mother Gabriela and their Shih Tzu dog, Bella, were visiting their family on Kibbutz Nir Yicchak. Together with her aunt, her partner and uncle, she was taken prisoner there and deported to the Gaza Strip.
During the week-long ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, ended on Friday, a 17-year-old girl, her mother and aunt were among those released and exchanged as Palestinian prisoners. Mia Leimberg, to the surprise of journalists and rescuers, emerged from two months of captivity carrying her beloved dog in her arms. Reuters called it “one of the most astonishing moments of the ceasefire.”
A 17-year-old girl imprisoned with her dog
At the time of the kidnapping, the 17-year-old hid the small dog under her pajamas, and Hamas initially did not notice it. Only when the hostages, led through a tunnel dug by terrorists, had to climb a ladder, was it noticed that Mia was hiding a live animal under her clothes. There was a short argument, but the teenager was eventually allowed to keep the dog.
In a conversation with journalists, Mia Lemberg emphasized how important it was for her that Bella stayed with her during her captivity in the Gaza Strip. – It was hard. I held her (Bella – ed.) all the time. I’m lucky I managed to keep her, Mia said. – She kept me busy. She was moral support, she said.
– We fed her with our leftovers (…) and we had to make sure she wouldn’t run away, make sure she didn’t wander around and upset anyone – she added.
Reuters reminds that Bella’s case is unique because many animals were killed during the Hamas attack.
Captivity of Hamas
The girl admits that she feels good physically, although the event affected her mental well-being. – I don’t feel traumatized, it’s not that I can’t sleep at night, but it is a difficult experience that takes time to process, she said.
– What is important to me is that although my mother and aunt and I returned, like many other people, we still have to fight for the people who stayed there – she emphasized. During the week-long ceasefire, over 100 hostages were released, but others still remain in captivity. the 17-year-old’s uncle. After the end of the truce, military operations resumed.
Main photo source: Reuters