Hostage Rescue, Life in Gaza Captivity

Further accounts of life in Gaza emerge from the four released hostages

“We’ve heard stories that are beyond anything you can imagine,” said a doctor examining the rescued hostages. Accounts of torture, sexual abuse, lack of food and medical care are slowly beginning to come out.

Hostages Andrey Kozlov and Almog Meir, freed from captivity in the home of a Palestinian journalist. (Photo: Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

In Israel, accounts of the hostages' lives under Hamas detention emerge. The four prisoners saved from Gaza were depicted as malnourished and psychologically damaged after spending eights months in captivity.

Andrey Kozlov's captors kept repeating the same message throughout the months following his kidnapping in Israel and hiding in the Gaza Strip: "The world has given up on him," they claimed. He was convinced by them that his family had moved on with their lives and no longer cared about him or his whereabouts. The militants even told him, "Your mother is on vacation in Greece."

His parents stated that during his rescue on Saturday when Israeli security powers burst through the entryway of the condo where Kozlov was being held, he was initially unsure of whether they had come to save or kill him as he had been convinced he no longer mattered. Kozlov was said to have come back "a fragile and different person," according to his girlfriend.

The narrative comes as a doctor in Israel reported that Kozlov and the three other rescued Hamas hostages appeared to be in fairly good health at first glance, but tests revealed that they were all malnourished.

After eight months in captivity Dr. Itai Pesach, the medical team leader at Sheba Medical Center, noted that the hostages had been mistreated in a variety of ways, with varying degrees of frequency and severity. He stated, "They were all physically and psychologically abused, punished, and tortured in many ways." The hostages he had examined, according to Pessach, had lost a lot of weight, and their muscles were "extremely wasted."

After living with poor nutrition, imprisonment, absence of daylight, and the stress that they were put through they may indeed suffer long term effects on their wellbeing, he added. Israeli officials deny Hamas' claim that it has treated the hostages well in comparison to Israel's treatment of Palestinian prisoners.

Israeli authorities have stated that at least one third of the approximately 120 captives who are still in Gaza are dead. Saturday's rescue was accompanied by intense airstrikes and significant casualties in the hostage-holding neighbourhood. The rescues lifted public sentiment in Israel, but they also served as a reminder of the plight of hostages who are still in captivity.

Kozlov's family said it was difficult to put what he had been through into words but that it had been very difficult for him. For a portion of his imprisonment, Hamas terrorists had bound his hands and feet so tightly that they left marks on his body. They also told Kozlov that his government had decided the hostages were a burden, his mother Ms. Kozlova said. She stated, "They were telling Andrey to be very quiet because they, as hostages, are a problem for Israel."

They stated, "They said Israel can solve this problem in any way it wants, even by killing the hostages so they don't have to think about them anymore." Mr. According to his mother, Kozlov only went outside at night when he was being moved to a new location.

Dr. Pesach stated that it was essential to allow newly released hostages to make their own decisions after being forced to do as told for months. However, he stated that in their first hours of freedom all they wanted to do is to see the sky.


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