How a teen hostage managed to hide her dog from Hamas – while in captivity

17-year-old Israeli says her dog gave her the ‘moral support’ she needed to endure nearly two months in captivity.

By World Israel News Staff

An Israeli teenager kidnapped by Hamas terrorists and held in captivity in the Gaza Strip for nearly two months managed to sneak her dog in with her, the former hostage revealed this week.

In an interview with Kan, 17-year-old Mia Leimberg explained how she managed to conceal her dog Bella, a Shih Tzu, on her person as she was taken into captivity by Hamas terrorists.

Leimberg, a resident of Jerusalem, was visiting relatives in Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak on October 7th, when she, her mother Gabriela, her aunt, Clara Marman, her uncle, and her aunt’s partner, were all taken hostage after Gaza terrorists overran the town.

As the five were driven off to the Gaza Strip, Leimberg held Bella, hiding the dog under her pyjamas.

“It was quite a journey for both of us,” Leimberg said, noting that “luckily,” Bella “is rather quiet.”

During the seven-day ceasefire last week, Leimberg, her mother, and her aunt were released, while her uncle and her aunt’s partner remain in captivity.

Speaking with Reuters in an interview published Thursday, Leimberg credited her dog with helping her to endure life in captivity.

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“She was a huge help to me. She kept me busy. She was moral support.”

“It was difficult. I held her (Bella) all the way there. It was an extra four kilos. And I’m just lucky enough that I managed to keep her through that whole situation and bring her back.”

Eventually, however, the terrorists holding Leimberg captive learned of the dog’s existence.

While in Hamas’ tunnel network, Leimberg’s father, Moshe, told Reuters, she was forced to climb a ladder, and could no longer hold onto Bella.

“A bit of an argument ensued, and it was decided to let her keep the dog instead of leave it behind.”

To the outside world, however, Bella’s fate remained a mystery, as Moshe Leimberg looked for his daughter’s missing pet.

Only when Mia, her mother, and her aunt were freed last week did Moshe learn what had become of Bella.

“She was very determined to bring the dog back, and one of the expressions that she has now, about the dog, is ‘I love you to Gaza and back’.”