Freed Gaza hostages recount captivity at Tel Aviv rally

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Rally calling for the release of hostages, in Tel Aviv

[1/5]People rally calling for the release of hostages kidnapped on the deadly October 7 attack by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel, December 9, 2023. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne Acquire Licensing Rights

TEL AVIV, Dec 9

Tek Aviv (Reuters) – Thousands of Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday demanding the release of all hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza, while some of those freed during a recent ceasefire spoke in videos about the rough conditions of their captivity.

The protesters waved flags and carried pictures of Israelis still in Gaza. One sign held up read: “They trust us to get them out of hell.”

Of the roughly 240 people taken hostage by Hamas during its Oct. 7 killing spree in Israel that sparked the war in Gaza, 137 remain in captivity after others were returned during a truce. Some have been declared dead in absentia by Israeli authorities.5

Margalit Moses, 77, in a video testimony told how she tried to take with her a machine that helps her breathe at night, but her captors took it away. Instead she was told to sit and lean her head back against the wall.

“I could breathe that way, but I couldn’t fall asleep,” she said.

Adina Moshe, 72, said close friends were left behind while she was released during the truce after 49 days in Gaza. Her friends are old, she said, with health problems and no access to medicines.

“The food situation there deteriorated; in the end we were eating just rice,” she said.

More than 100 hostages were freed in the week-long truce that ended on Dec. 1. Since then fighting has resumed with Israel pursuing its military offensive against Hamas in Gaza.

Siblings Maya and Itay Regev, ages 21 and 18, were also among those released.

“Every day there was like hell,” said Maya. “Unreal fear. No sleep at night. The yearnings are crazy and the lack of knowing (what’s happening) is just scary.”

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