Tel Aviv [Israel, November 30: Israeli women and children on their return from Hamas captivity in Gaza speak of being beaten and threatened with death, moved from place to place and forced to whisper during weeks spent with little to do, their families say.
Most hostages released during a six-day-old truce have been rushed to hospitals out of sight in a country still reeling from the shock of their abduction during a Hamas rampage on Oct. 7 in which Israel says 1,200 people were killed.
Danny Brom, director of METIV: The Israel Psychotrauma Center, said some will need medical treatment but others will not. Many will need to talk, and "the main issue that needs to be restored is a sense of control," he said.
"People coming through horrific things are not sick," Brom said. "They need to cope with it, they need to get space, time and a warm environment in order to do that, but not necessarily in a medical setting."
Since the latest round of releases began on Friday, with Israel releasing some jailed Palestinians in exchange, the freed hostages have been kept away from the media.
Their stories have come out through the filter of family members, without independent verification. They offer a hint of their ordeal. Most of the 240 hostages that Israel says were seized on Oct. 7 are still in captivity.
Deborah Cohen told France's BFM TV she had been told her 12-year-old nephew EitanYahalomi and others were beaten by Gazan residents on arrival in the enclave after the Hamas rampage. She said his captors made him watch footage of the Hamas violence.
"Every time a child cried there, they threatened them with a weapon to make them be quiet. Once they got to Gaza, all the civilians, everyone was hitting them . We're talking about a child 12 years old," she said.
Hamas portrays the treatment of hostages as humane, and says it has treated the hostages in accordance with Islamic teachings to preserve their lives and wellbeing.
But the Palestinian militant group says some hostages were killed by air strikes during a military offensive that was launched in response to the Oct. 7 assault and has killed more than 15,000 people, according to Palestinian health officials in Hamas-ruled Gaza.
Source: Fijian Broadcasting Cooperation