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Freed Israeli Hostages Describe 'Family Atmosphere' In Captivity

12.02.2024 15:42

Israeli army says 2 hostages freed during military raid in Rafah city.

Two Israeli hostages freed in a military raid in the southern Gaza Strip have recounted a "family atmosphere" during their captivity.

The Israeli army said Monday that the two hostages, Fernando Simon, 60, and Louis Har, 70, were freed during a raid in Rafah city.

The pair, who are dual Argentine-Israeli citizens, were abducted alongside three relatives who were freed in November as part of a temporary cease-fire deal.

Relatives said the two hostages were held in a family home in Rafah, where they prepared meals for family members, according to Israeli media outlet Yedioth Ahronoth.

"They talked to the family about football, and they received some kind of medication," relatives said, without providing further details.

Simon's niece, Geffen Sigal Ilan, who saw them at the hospital, said the two men were thin and pale but communicating well and aware of their surroundings.

"They have not seen sunlight for four months, which was evident in their appearance," she added.

Palestinian group Hamas is believed to be holding more than 130 Israeli hostages following its Oct. 7 cross-border attack into Israel.

Israel has since pounded the Gaza Strip, killing at least 28,340 people and injuring 67,984 others, while nearly 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas attack.

The Israeli onslaught has left 85% of Gaza's population internally displaced amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure was damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

In late 2023 South Africa filed a case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), accusing Israel of failing to uphold its commitments under the 1948 Genocide Convention.

The UN court, in its interim ruling in January, ruled that South Africa's claims are plausible. It ordered provisional measures for Israel's government to desist from genocidal acts, and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

*Writing by Mohammad Sio -

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