Hostages tell harrowing tales of captivity in Hamas attack on Israel
Forced to remain silent in darkness and fed with scant rations, hostages kidnapped by Hamas during the attack on Israel on October 7 endured brutal conditions. Around 240 people, ranging from babies to octogenarians, were taken hostage by the Palestinian militant organization. While dozens have been freed, many more remain missing and are allegedly held in different areas under the control of various groups in the Gaza.
Neither the Red Cross nor other humanitarian groups have been allowed to visit the hostages, making it difficult for the world and their relatives to know what may be happening to their loved ones still held in captivity. Details of their conditions have been gathered from the testimonies of those who have been released to their families, caregivers, and journalists.
The hostages were held in underground tunnels and in houses, with the majority being women, children, and foreign workers, according to the terms of the agreement between Israel and Hamas. Every released person’s story adds to the understanding of the dreadful conditions they endured.
The darkness was literal and also figurative for the hostages, who were deprived of all information. With the incessant bombardment outside the tunnels and houses, they had to rely on their other senses and imagination. Even children were forced to endure in silence, being threatened with a gun and made to watch horrific videos of the attacks that occurred on October 7.
The hostages were fed with survival rations, but as the Israeli siege on Gaza tightened, their conditions worsened. They were fed the same food as the guards at first, but as the economic situation grew dire, many went hungry.
In addition to physical injuries such as insect bites, the former captives also suffered mental trauma. Many of the children who were released appeared to be distant and cold, speaking about their experiences as if they were describing the events of a movie, rather than their own living nightmare.
The world awaits the release of more hostages and hopes for a resolution to the conflict so that these innocent victims may be reunited with their families and begin their recovery.