Israeli mother shares warm embrace with daughters after release from Hamas captivity

'After a long period of terrible uncertainty, my daughters are finally with me,' writes Maayan Zin after reunion with her daughters Dafna and Ella Elyakim, who were held in Gaza for 51 days
After sisters Dafna, 15, and Ella, 8, Elyakim were released from Hamas captivity in the Gaza Strip, a photograph capturing their mother, Maayan Zin, embracing them at Hatzerim Airbase was published on Sunday evening.
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"After a long period of terrible uncertainty, my daughters are finally with me," Zin wrote after the encounter. "It was 51 days of oscillating between despair and hope, pain and optimism, and I'm glad to now be here with them."
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מעין צין ובנותיה דפנה ואלה אליקים
מעין צין ובנותיה דפנה ואלה אליקים
Maayan Zin hugs her daughters Dafna, 15, and Ella, 8, Elyakim after their release from Hamas captivity
"The girls are returning to a new and complex situation, and we now face a period of recovery that will take time. The moment will come to thank everyone who supported me and helped amplify my cries across the country and the world," she added.
"It's a bittersweet joy. Happiness for the girls who are here and sadness for those who still have not returned. My heart won't be whole until everyone is back home safely."
Dafna and her old sister Ella were abducted to Gaza from their home in Kibbutz Nahal Oz after terrorists murdered their father Noam, his partner Dikla and her son Tomer. The terrorists broke into their home on October 7 and recorded the family members sitting frightened in a corner, with their father Noam bleeding, and uploaded the videos to social media.
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אלה ודפנה אליקים
אלה ודפנה אליקים
Dafna and Ella Elyakim
Their aunt Leah told Ynet that she felt "pure joy" after their release but there was still a lengthy recovery process ahead of the girls because "we still don't fully know what they experienced in captivity, and what they saw before being taken."
Regarding their mother, Maayan's experience on this day, Leah said, "It's indescribable what she is going through. It's just overwhelming emotion. Even I can't find the words. I want to hug them, say nothing, just a million kisses. I'm sure they are more heroic than we can imagine. They are heroes, brave and strong."
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