Former Hostages Describe Dire Conditions While Held

Brothers Tal Goldstein-Almog, 9, and Gal Goldstein-Almog, 11, sit next to an Israeli soldier after being released, Monday night. (IDF/Handout via REUTERS)

Women abducted from Israel and held captive by Hamas in Gaza were reportedly confined in cages, according to a member of the Hostages and Missing Families Forum. This revelation underlines the videos on a Hamas social media channel depicting child hostages being kept in cages for a significant portion of their captivity.

Survivors also shared accounts of receiving meager food supplies, often limited to basic items such as rice and pita. The hostages were responsible for cooking their own meals and caring for the children among them, and toward the end of their captivity, supplies were scarce.

A doctor treating the released hostages noted that the daily food ration for the captives was notably meager, with most receiving only half a slice of bread twice a day. Conditions of confinement and heightened anxiety were prevalent.

Chanah Katzir, one of the released hostages, learned about her son’s murder during one of the rare occasions when they were allowed to listen to Israeli radio. She discovered upon her release that her husband had also been kidnapped and remains in Gaza.

Concerns among the hostages included last-minute attacks by Hamas or Gazans during their journey home. There were fears, expressed by one hostage, that they might face a potential attack en route to Israel until the very last moment of their journey.

On the other hand, released hostage Hagar Brodutch, who was freed on Sunday, learned only upon her release that her husband Avichai was alive. “For 50 days she lived thinking he was dead,” her father, Moshe Lotem said.

She believed Avichai, who was shot by terrorists during the attack, had died as she spent seven long weeks as a hostage with her three young children, as well as four-year-old Avigail Edan, who ran to her after her parents, Roy and Smadar, Hy”d, were murdered.

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