‘I didn’t sleep for 49 days’: Released hostages describe terror of Hamas captivity

World

“Every day there is like hell. Abnormal fear, zero sleep.”

Hostages released by Hamas have described weeks of fear and hunger inside the warren of tunnels beneath Gaza, and called on the world not to forget about those still in captivity.

Their comments were broadcast in pre-recorded videos played at a rally in Tel Aviv on Saturday, with hundreds of Israelis gathering to call for the release of more than 130 other hostages still in the clutches of the militant group.

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Hundreds of people rally in Tel Aviv to demand release of the remaining hostages. Pic: AP
Image:
Hundreds of people rally in Tel Aviv to demand release of the remaining hostages. Pic: AP

Brother and sister Itay and Maya Regev were at the Supernova festival on 7 October when armed Hamas gunmen opened fire, killing more than 350 people.

They were taken hostage, split up and held hostage for weeks before being released late last month.

“The days there pass like an eternity,” Itay said, sitting next to his sister in the video.

“It’s the hunger, it’s the longing for the family, it’s the difficult mentality – the difficult conditions.”

Maya and Itay Regev
Image:
Maya and Itay Regev

Maya Regev speaks in a pre-recorded video statement. Pic: AP
Image:
Maya Regev speaks in a pre-recorded video statement. Pic: AP

Maya added: “Every day there is like hell. Abnormal fear, zero sleep. At night the longings are crazy and the not knowing is just scary.”

Margalit Moses, a 78-year-old cancer survivor, said one of her captors took away her oxygen machine.

“I could breathe, but I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t sleep for 49 days,” she said in her video testimony.

“Being held hostage in the tunnels is an unbearable situation. We must return the people as soon as possible,” she added.

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Margalit Moses has been released
Image:
Margalit Moses has been released

Ofelia Roitman, 77, said she was taken from her home in Kibbutz Nir Oz in a tractor.

“I was very scared the first two weeks,” she says. “I was almost without any light and almost without any food.”

She added: “It reminded me of the Holocaust. I ate pieces of pita and kept it so that I would have something to eat the next day.”

Like the others, she asked that everything possible be done to free the hostages still in Hamas captivity.

“The days are very difficult. One day is like a whole week there.”

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