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Freed Israeli Hostages Call for Release of Remaining Captives

Some of the Israeli hostages released from Gaza spoke publicly Saturday for the first time and urged their government to secure the release of the remaining captives held in the war-torn Palestinian territory.

The hostages, most of whom were freed during a seven-day truce between Israel and Hamas, spoke in a video broadcast before a crowd of thousands at a rally in central Tel Aviv, Israel.

Fear, hunger, sleeplessness

In the interviews, four women held by Hamas related the fear, hunger, and sleeplessness of their captivity after being taken hostage on October 7 by the group, which the U.S. designates a terror organization.

“Our daughters saw things that children at that age — or of any age — don’t need to see,” said Danielle Aloni, 45, who was released last week along with her 5-year-old daughter.

“The food wasn’t plentiful to start with, and as time passed, the food dwindled,” said 84-year-old Ditza Heiman, who was released Tuesday.

‘Bring them home immediately’

The freed hostages urged the government to take all action necessary to secure the remaining captives’ release.

Yocheved Lifschitz, 85, who was released by Hamas in October, outside the parameters of the truce deal, said “the moral obligation of this government is to bring them home immediately, without hesitation.”

Their comments came a day after the collapse of a Qatari and U.S.-mediated truce that saw the release of 80 Israeli hostages, mostly women and children, in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners over the course of a week.

Israeli troops renewed fighting in the Gaza Strip on Friday morning. Speaking at the rally, Yelena Trupanov, who was released Wednesday, told the crowd assembled outside the Tel Aviv Art Museum that “we must return my Sasha and the rest,” referring to her son, still held in Gaza.

Trupanov, 50, had appeared in a hostage video disseminated by Hamas in the weeks after the attacks. Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari said Saturday that 137 Israelis and foreign nationals remained captive in the Gaza Strip.

Source: VOA NEWS