Shin Bet accuses Iran of taunting Israeli hostage’s family with funeral wreath

Shin Bet accuses Iran of taunting Israeli hostage’s family with funeral wreath
Israel’s intelligence agency says it suspects that Iran sent a wreath of flowers to an Israeli hostage's family to taunt them.
3 min read
08 April, 2024
The Shin Bet has launched an investigation to find out who sent a wreath to the family of an Israeli hostage [GETTY]

Israel’s Shin Bet security agency said on Sunday that it suspects that Iran is behind the sending of a wreath of flowers to the family of Liri Albag, an Israeli hostage seized by Hamas on October 7, in order to taunt them.

According to Israeli media, a wreath reminiscent to ones laid on graves was delivered on Friday to the family home located in the village of Yarhiv in central Israel.

The wreath came with a note which read: “May her memory be a blessing, we all know that the country is more important.”

The Shin Bet said that Iran was “most likely” behind the wreath, saying that it could not have been sent by supporters of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been accused by hostage families of prioritising the war on Gaza over the release of their relatives.

Prior to the statement from the Shin Bet, the Hostages and Missing Families Forum said that they "vigorously condemn violent behaviour against the family of Liri Albag".

The Shin Bet said that they would continue investigating the incident.

Israeli media decried the wreath as a form of “psychological torture towards [Albag's] loved ones.”

The florist from whom the wreath was purchased spoke to Israeli media, saying that it was ordered online and that he did not recognise Liri Albag’s name.

He added that he had tried to call and email the sender several times after being apprehensive about the request for the delivery to be sent to her home.

After finally reaching the sender, the florist stated that they requested the wreath to be sent to their own home, “as written in the online order.”

Albag’s sister, Roni, said that the wreath was taken to the police station by a local security officer to prevent the family from seeing it.

“How are there people in the world who dare to send a mourning wreath to our family when we know she is alive?” she said. “It is horrifying and it makes me sick,” she added.

Albag, 19, was taken captive on 7 October during the Hamas led-attack. She was at the Nahal Oz military base where she was set to begin service as a surveillance soldier.

According to Israel, she is believed to be alive, along with around 128 other captives held in Gaza. Israeli intelligence have said that over 30 people who were taken captive have been declared dead.

Captives released in the temporary truce in November said they had seen Albag, and that she was moving between different Palestinian homes.

Israel's indiscriminate war on Gaza has killed over 33,000 Palestinians and it is currently estimated that there are around 8,100 Palestinians in Israeli jails.