JERUSALEM (AP) — Eighty-five-year-old Yocheved Lifshitz, one of the two hostages released by Hamas said the people ordered to guard her, “told us they are people who believe in the Quran and wouldn’t hurt us.”
Lifshitz was the first of the four hostages released so far to speak of their experience, from the initial attack through the more than two weeks of captivity. Lifshitz and Cooper were the second pair of hostages to be released. On Friday, Hamas freed two Israeli American women.
The people assigned to guard her “told us they are people who believe in the Quran and wouldn’t hurt us.”
Lifshitz said captives were treated well and received medical care, including medication. The guards kept conditions clean, she said. Hostages were given one meal a day of cheese, cucumber and pita, she said, adding that her captors ate the same.
Her 83-year-old husband, Oded, remains a hostage in Gaza.
Lifshitz, a member of Kibbutz Nir Oz, was among the more than 200 Israelis and foreigners seized after Hamas broke through Israel’s multibillion-dollar electric border fence and fanned across southern Israel, overrunning nearly two dozen communities, military bases and a desert rave. More than 1,400 people died in the daylong killing rampage that followed.
Israel’s military has launched deadly attacks on Gaza, killing more than 5,000 Palestinians, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Lifshitz’s captors hustled her onto a motorcycle, removed her watch and jewelry and beat her with sticks, bruising her ribs and making it difficult to breathe, she said.
Lifshitz and her husband were peace activists who regularly drove Palestinian patients from Gaza to receive medical treatment in Israeli hospitals. But in captivity, the hostages told their captors, “We don’t want to talk about politics,” she said.
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