‘We had been very afraid’: Former hostage speaks about surviving Hamas captivity in Gaza

A former hostage, who was rescued by the Israeli navy in February, is describing how he survived 129 days in captivity in Gaza. 

On Oct. 7, Argentine-Israeli Luis Har was taken hostage by the Palestinian militant group Hamas from a kibbutz close to the Gaza border, alongside along with his associate Clara Marman, Clara’s brother Fernando Marman, Clara’s sister Gabriela Leimberg and Gabriela’s daughter, 17-year-old Mia Leimberg.

“They take us brutally, we had been very afraid [for] our lives,” he mentioned in an interview with Rosemary Barton Stay, describing how armed males broke into the home. “They take us with the automotive to Gaza.”

Har instructed CBC chief political correspondent Rosemary Barton that, whereas in captivity, they tried to maintain quiet and keep away from something that might make the guards nervous, as a result of they knew Hamas wasn’t afraid to shoot. They could not depart the room they had been in and needed to ask permission to go to the lavatory. 

“It is very troublesome to be on this scenario…. The likelihood in the event you discuss no good or say one thing, perhaps they shoot you,” he mentioned. “We had been very afraid.”

WATCH | Har describes ‘very troublesome’ situations in captivity: 

Man held hostage by Hamas remembers ‘very troublesome’ captivity in Gaza

Luis Har, an Argentine Israeli who was held hostage by Hamas for 129 days in Gaza, spoke to CBC’s Rosemary Barton about his time in captivity.

Israel says 253 individuals had been taken hostage by Hamas and different militant teams as a part of the assault on Oct. 7. Since then, over 100 hostages have been launched, most of them as a part of a short lived ceasefire deal in November.

All the girls in Har’s household had been launched as a part of that deal, together with 17-year-old Mia Leimberg and her canine Bella.

“It was troublesome. I held [Bella] all the best way there. It was an additional 4 kilos. And I am simply fortunate sufficient that I managed to maintain her via that complete scenario and produce her again,” Leimberg instructed Reuters in December.

A woman holding a dog poses for a photo.
Mia Leimberg, 17, launched from captivity after being taken hostage by Hamas along with her mom, aunt and canine Bella, holds the canine in her arms at dwelling in Jerusalem on Dec. 5, 2023. On the time, Har, her aunt’s associate, and her uncle had been nonetheless in captivity. (Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)

Expertise modified him, ex-hostage says

Months later, on Feb. 12, Har and Fernando Marman had been lastly rescued in an in a single day raid by the Israel Defence Forces within the southern Gaza metropolis of Rafah. At 2 o’clock within the morning, Har heard explosions. He thought the IDF was bombing the constructing they had been in.  

“We pay attention in Hebrew … the troopers name my title and say to me, ‘It is OK, Luis, it is OK, we’re the military, we’re coming to take you dwelling,'” he mentioned.

Israel launched a navy offensive in Hamas-run Gaza in response to the Oct. 7 cross-border assault, during which about 1,200 individuals had been killed, in accordance with Israeli officers. Israel’s assault on Gaza has killed almost 35,000 Palestinians and wounded almost 80,000, most of them civilians, well being officers in Gaza say.

Israel says greater than 130 hostages stay in Gaza. Protesters have been taking to the streets throughout the nation calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to simply accept a ceasefire deal that might deliver them dwelling. The Netanyahu authorities has insisted it won’t cease the warfare till Hamas is destroyed and all of the hostages are returned.

Har says he would not wish to inform the federal government what to do, however he believes an important factor is to deliver the hostages again dwelling. “It is so troublesome to be there. No medicines, and no meals…. I do not know the way many individuals there are nonetheless alive, it is so arduous.”

WATCH | Key second in warfare as U.S. leans on Israel: 

Stress mounts on Netanyahu as warfare drags on

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel is set to defeat Hamas, however it has price him assist at dwelling and overseas and put his political future in jeopardy.

Har says being held hostage in Gaza for 129 days modified him as an individual.

“Each noise, each explosion … they [take] us again to the scenario we had been in Gaza. We’re totally different, totally different individuals.” 

He says he cannot return to his dwelling within the south due to the fixed explosions. His hope is that sooner or later he’ll have the ability to return dwelling to reside in peace along with his household.  

“We’re [peaceful] individuals, you understand, we do not wish to make wars … and now we have plenty of mates from Gaza. They’re coming to work … however now I do not know what will probably be,” he mentioned.

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