ORMOND BEACH, Fla. - A Florida woman said she watched helplessly via a livestream as her friends were attacked by Hamas soldiers in Israel.
Keren De Via was born in Israel but moved to Ormond Beach several years ago. Many of her loved ones still live in the Middle East, including her daughter. When the Israel-Hamas war sparked earlier this month, she made it a point to keep in constant contact with the people she knows.
On Oct. 7, she grew concerned as she received continuous alerts for missiles launched into Israel. After checking on her daughter, she took to Facebook to check on others.
At the top of her timeline was a badge indicating that her friend, Gali Idan, was livestreaming. The pair have known each other for years. De Via shared pictures where her daughter and Gali’s daughter played together as toddlers, over a decade ago.
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The preview for the livestream, she said, looked as though Gali was in danger. When she clicked on it, the video confirmed her fears.
"[Gali] was on the floor with her two kids and her husband, and someone else was taking the video."
According to The BBC, one of the captors picked up Gali’s phone, asked for the password, and began filming the family. The stream went on for roughly half an hour, most of which was screen-recorded by De Via.
The full-length video shows the family in terror. The father is shown with blood on his hands and the children crying and pleading for mercy.
"All of a sudden, you hear one of the kids saying, they killed my sister," De Via said.
The BBC confirmed that Gali's daughter, 18-year-old Mayan Idan, was shot and killed. This happened as De Via watched from her kitchen table, thousands of miles away.
"That day I just crashed. I couldn't function," she said.
De Via reports Gali was released and her husband, Tsachi, was taken captive. To her knowledge, he is still one of over 200 people being held hostage by Hamas in Gaza. This latest act of violence only strengthened her immense frustration with the actions taken by the terrorist group.
"[Breaking the family up] is basically a mind game, and that is why this is terror. It's more than just the brutality of the action themselves," De Via said. "End this by releasing the hostages. It’s just that."