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Freed Israeli hostage describes deteriorating situations whereas being held by Hamas

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TEL AVIV, Israel — An Israeli hostage freed by Hamas stated in an interview that she was initially fed effectively in captivity till situations worsened and folks turned hungry. She was stored in a “suffocating” room and slept on plastic chairs with a sheet for practically 50 days.

In one of many first interviews with a freed hostage, 78-year-old Ruti Munder instructed Israel’s Channel 13 tv that she spent everything of her time together with her daughter, Keren, and grandson, Ohad Munder-Zichri, who celebrated his ninth birthday in captivity. Her account, broadcast Monday, provides to the trickle of details about the expertise of captives held in Gaza.

Munder was snatched Oct. 7 from her house in Nir Oz, a kibbutz in southern Israel. Her husband, Avraham, additionally 78, was taken hostage too and stays in Gaza. Her son was killed within the assault.

Initially, they ate “rooster with rice, all kinds of canned food and cheese,” Munder instructed Channel 13. “We had been OK.”

They got tea within the morning and night, and the kids got sweets. However the menu modified when “the financial state of affairs was not good, and folks had been hungry.”

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Israel has maintained a decent siege on Gaza because the conflict erupted, resulting in shortages of meals, gas and different fundamental gadgets.

Munder, who was freed Friday, returned in good bodily situation, like most different captives. However one of many launched hostages, an 84-year-old lady, has been hospitalized in life-threatening situation after not receiving correct care in captivity, medical doctors stated. One other freed captive wanted surgical procedure.

Freed hostages have principally stored out of the general public eye since their return. Any particulars about their ordeal have come via family members, who haven’t revealed a lot.

Munder, confirming accounts from family members of different freed captives, stated they slept on plastic chairs. She stated she lined herself with a sheet however that not all captives had one.

Boys who had been there would keep up late chatting, whereas a number of the women would cry, she stated. Some boys slept on the ground.

She stated she would get up late to assist go the time. The room the place she was held was “suffocating,” and the captives had been prevented from opening the blinds, however she managed to crack open a window.

“It was very troublesome,” she stated.

Munder’s account emerged as Israel and Hamas agreed to increase their truce. The 2 sides have been exchanging Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners below a cease-fire deal that has paused the combating. The deal additionally consists of a rise in help to Gaza.

Israel declared conflict after the Islamic militant group’s cross-border assault Oct. 7 by which 1,200 individuals had been killed and 240 others taken hostage. An Israeli offensive has left over 13,000 Palestinians {dead}, in keeping with well being authorities within the Hamas-run territory.

Munder stated that on Oct. 7, she was placed on a car together with her household and pushed into Gaza. A militant draped over them a blanket her grandson had carried from house, which she stated was meant to forestall them from seeing the militants round them. Whereas in captivity, she realized from a Hamas militant who listened to the radio that her son was killed, in keeping with the Channel 13 report.

Nonetheless, she stated, she held out that hope she can be freed.

“I used to be optimistic. I understood that if we got here right here, then we might be launched. I understood that if we had been alive — they killed whoever they wished to in Nir Oz.”

Two Israeli TV stations, Channels 12 and 13, reported that Hamas’ prime chief in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, visited the hostages in a tunnel and guaranteed them they might not be harmed.

“You might be most secure right here. Nothing will occur to you,” he was quoted as saying within the similar studies, which didn’t reveal the supply of the account.

This spherical of releases has seen principally ladies and kids freed. They’ve been present process bodily and psychological assessments at Israeli hospitals earlier than returning house.

Mirit Regev, whose 21-year-old daughter, Maya, was freed Sunday, instructed Israeli public broadcaster Kan that the household has been recommended to “return the ability to her” of their interactions by all the time asking her for permission earlier than issues happen, reminiscent of leaving the room. Regev’s 18-year-old son, Itai, remains to be being held by Hamas.

Itai Pessach, director of the Edmond and Lily Safra Kids’s Hospital at Sheba Medical Middle, the place lots of the launched kids have been handled, stated he felt some optimism as a result of the hostages had been bodily recovering. However he stated medical workers had heard “very troublesome and sophisticated tales from their time in Hamas captivity,” with out elaborating.

“We perceive that even if they may appear bodily bettering, there is a very, very lengthy strategy to go earlier than they’re healed,” he stated.

In a separate interview, the aunt of a 25-year-old Israeli-Russian hostage who was launched Sunday from Gaza stated her nephew fled his captors and hid inside Gaza for just a few days earlier than being recaptured.

“He stated he was taken by terrorists, they usually introduced him right into a constructing. However the constructing was destroyed (by Israeli bombing), and he was in a position to flee,” Yelena Magid, the aunt of Roni Krivoi, instructed Kan radio on Monday. “He was attempting to get to the border, however I feel as a result of he didn’t have the sources to know the place he was and which course to flee, he had some bother.”

He instructed her in a telephone dialog he was in a position to cover himself for round 4 days earlier than Palestinians in Gaza found him, she added.

“One factor that gave us hope from the beginning is that he’s a boy who’s all the time smiling, and he can determine issues out in any state of affairs,” Magid stated.

Israeli media aired video Monday of Ori Megidish, an Israeli soldier who was taken captive, then freed by the navy late final month. She stated she was completely happy and doing effectively and wished all of the captives would return house.

“I am glad to have my life again,” she stated.


AP journalist Melanie Lidman contributed to this report.

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