17 hostages freed during Israel-Hamas truce 2:20

(CNN) -- For more than six weeks, the conditions of Israeli hostages captured by Hamas in Gaza were virtually unknown to the outside world.

But now testimonies are beginning to emerge from some of the hostages freed by the extremist group in recent days, giving a glimpse of their lives in captivity following Hamas' brutal attack on Israel on Oct. 7.

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Those who have spoken of their experiences describe how they lived on limited supplies, while bombs rained down on their heads. Some learned during their time as hostages that members of their family or friends had been killed on the day of the Hamas assault, while others were left with no clues about their safety.

Adva Adar, whose 85-year-old grandmother Yafa was one of those released in the first hostage-for-Palestinian detainee swap, said her family "was asked to let (Yafa) share whatever she saw fit, and not to ask her too many questions so that she wouldn't feel obligated (to answer) or so that it wouldn't be too much for her."

Adva said her grandmother had lost weight during the ordeal, and other hostages have revealed that the captives had little food.

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Rice & Bread

The freed hostages Keren Munder, his mother and his 9-year-old son endured days with barely pita bread to eat during their captivity, his cousin Merav Mor Raviv told reporters on Sunday.


Munder and his mother lost between six and eight kilograms of weight due to lack of regular feeding, Mor Raviv said, adding: "They ate, but not regularly."

Their diet in captivity included plenty of rice and bread, he added.

Following Israeli army attacks and the ground offensive on Gaza, the enclave has been plunged into a humanitarian crisis. Most of the territory's inhabitants have focused on the basics: finding shelter, fleeing the fighting, and accessing food and water.

During the first three days of the truce, Hamas released a total of 58 hostages, mainly women and children, and Israel released 117 Palestinian prisoners.

A Red Cross convoy carrying Israeli and foreign hostages heads to Egypt from Gaza on Sunday. Credit: Fatima Shbair/AP

For some of them, the conditions were manageable. Roongarun Wichanguen, sister of freed Thai hostage Vetoon Phoome, said Saturday that her brother appeared healthy after being released by Hamas in a separate deal.

"He had a very cheerful face and seemed fine. He said he had not been tortured or assaulted and that he had been fed well," he said in a video interview. "They took very good care of him. It looked like he had stayed in a house, not in the tunnel," he added.

However, several hostages were admitted to hospitals with serious injuries or health problems.

Alma Avraham, 84, who was among the Israeli hostages freed from Gaza on Sunday, was admitted to the intensive care unit, according to Israel's Soroka Medical Center.

"She is in critical condition, she is (being) treated in the emergency department after suffering significant medical neglect over the past few weeks while being held by Hamas. He is currently in an unstable condition and his life is in danger," Dr. Shlomi Codish, CEO of Soroka Medical Center, said in a video Sunday.

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Another hostage, 72-year-old Adina Moshe, endured "horrific" conditions while held captive, according to her nephew.
Moshe is "regaining strength" but is "a little weak" after spending more than seven weeks five stories underground, Eyal Nouri told CNN's Brinna Golodryga on Monday.

"They were eating only rice and some beans from [a] can, which they tried to avoid [eating] so they wouldn't have a stomachache," he said. "Not to mention they didn't have decent facilities, like a shower. They didn't shower in seven weeks."

Foiled escape attempt

Yelena Magid, the aunt of freed Russian-Israeli hostage Roni Kriboy, told Israeli radio station Kan Reshet B on Monday about her nephew's ordeal in Gaza. Kriboy is the first adult Israeli male captured on October 7 released by Hamas; his release was not officially part of the hostage-for-detainee agreement between Israel and Hamas.

Magid said in a phone call that Kriboy, 25, had told him how he was held in a building that collapsed when it was bombed, and managed to escape, he told his aunt. But after hiding for a few days, he was captured and returned to Hamas captivity.

"He tried to get to the border. I think since I didn't have the means to understand his whereabouts and where to flee, he probably got a little disoriented there in the area. He was alone for four days," Magid told the radio station.

Kriboy suffered a head injury in the building collapse but is now doing well, his aunt added.
Meanwhile, some hostages learned during their captivity that their loved ones had been killed on October 7.

Omri Almog, the brother of an Israeli hostage who was released on Sunday along with two of her children, described Monday how his sister knew her husband and daughter had been killed.

"I am very happy to inform everyone that my sister Chen Goldstein-Almog and the three children Agam, Gal and Tal are back with us and (are) well," Almog said in a short video released by the Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum.

"They knew all along that Nadav and Yam had been killed in the house... they went to Gaza as hostages, kidnapped, with this idea," he said. Chen Goldstein-Almog's daughter, Yam, was 20 when she was killed, while her husband, Nadav, was 48.

Another hostage, 13-year-old Hila Rotem Shoshani, was released by Hamas on Saturday, but her mother, Raaya, remains in detention.

Yair Rotem, Raaya's brother, said the two should be released at the same time, telling CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Monday that there was "no reason to separate them."

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) claim that their separation violates the terms of the agreement.

IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus told CNN this weekend that when the IDF inquired about Hila's mother, Hamas said it did not know where she was, a claim Yair rejects.
"I urge all parties involved to put pressure on Hamas to respect the agreement," Yair told Blitzer.

"We have to respect it, they have to respect it. Stop playing those games," he added.

More than 40 of the hostages taken by Israel in Gaza on October 7 are not currently held by Hamas, the group that launched the attack, a diplomatic source briefed on the negotiations told CNN on Monday.

This complicates the possibility of extending the duration of the truce, as the agreement requires Hamas to hand over hostages in exchange for Palestinian detainees held by Israel, so Hamas must hold the hostages to hand them over.

CNN previously reported that between 40 and 50 hostages were held by Palestinian Islamic Jihad or other groups or individuals. That was before the hostage surrender began on Friday.

CNN's Richard Greene, Radina Gigova, Michael Rosenblatt, Alex Stambaugh and Becky Anderson contributed to this report.

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