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Hostages Suffered Severe Abuse, Report Israeli Doctors

Heartbreaking Details Emerge from Gaza Captivity

The four hostages rescued on Saturday after eight harrowing months in Gaza are suffering from severe malnutrition and have endured significant physical and mental abuse, according to Dr. Itay Pessach, director of the Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s Hospital at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan. Their liberation, part of “Operation Arnon,” has brought to light the appalling conditions they faced during their captivity.

Rescued from separate locations in Nuseirat Camp in central Gaza, Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 21, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 40, were initially kidnapped by Hamas terrorists during the Oct. 7 massacre at the Supernova music festival near Kibbutz Re’im. Held in densely populated residential areas, their condition was dire but less severe than those held in Hamas’s subterranean tunnels.

Dr. Pessach emphasized the extensive abuse endured by all hostages, highlighting their prolonged suffering. Despite the varied locations of their captivity, each individual's experience of physical and mental torment was severe. The recent return of 134 hostages, out of the 250 kidnapped, underscores the ongoing struggle, with 116 still held and at least 40 presumed dead.

The medical teams at Sheba Medical Center have been meticulously following a protocol developed with the Health Ministry to address the hostages' nutritional, physical, and psychological needs. This includes comprehensive lab tests, imaging, and assessments of heart and organ function, along with psychological support.

Tragically, Almog Meir Jan returned to find his father had died just hours before his rescue, adding to the family's grief. His mother, Orit, shared the heartbreak of her son missing the chance to say goodbye.

The bond formed between Meir Jan, Ziv, and Kozlov during their captivity was a testament to their resilience. "We remained strong and supported each other very much. We are very united," Meir Jan conveyed through his relatives. Despite their dire circumstances, they managed to cook, exercise, and even keep informed about events in Israel.

The dramatic rescue operation was fraught with danger. "When the IDF forces came to rescue us, both we and the terrorists were sleeping. We heard the forces and didn’t believe it at first," Meir Jan recounted. The mission, though successful, resulted in the loss of Ch. Insp. Arnon Zamora of the Israel Border Police’s “Yamam” National Counter-Terrorism Unit.

Noa Argamani’s reunion with her father, Yaakov, and her terminally ill mother, Liora, was bittersweet. Her mother, in poor condition, struggled to fully recognize her daughter after eight months apart.

These stories of endurance and the ongoing efforts to rescue the remaining hostages highlight the resilience and unity of the Israeli people. Share this article or subscribe to our newsletter to stay informed about the latest developments in Israel’s ongoing fight for justice and peace.