Hamas, the brutal terrorist group that massacred Israeli civilians on Oct. 7 and provoked a war with the Jewish state, over the last few days let some of its hostages go as part of a ceasefire deal. Released hostages have described hellish conditions and torture while they were in Hamas captivity.
"The hostages were beaten with sticks as they were abducted," while "many of them had bleeding wounds" when Hamas finally released them, the Yeshiva World reported Tuesday.
Among those beaten was 12-year-old Israeli-French dual citizen Eitan Yahalomi, the Times of Israel reported. Yahalomi's aunt told a French broadcaster that Hamas "monsters" and other Gazans "beat him" when the terrorists first took him to Gaza. Hamas then forced the boy to watch videos of its Oct. 7 massacre and threatened him and other children "with rifles to shut them up," Yahalomi's aunt said.
A medical official told the Israeli newspaper Maariv that the released hostages arrived in hospitals "suffering from malnutrition and electrolyte imbalances," according to the World. "Some have substantial weight loss, sensitivity to light, and instinctively talk in whispers," the Times reported.
The hostages "slept on rows of three chairs tied together, like benches in a waiting room, and had to knock on the door to gain their captors' attention when they needed to use the bathroom," the Washington Post reported. "The wait sometimes lasted several hours."
Hamas kidnapped its Israeli victims and took them to Gaza following its brutal attack on Israel, which killed 1,200 people. If recent Palestinian reports are accurate, Hamas as of Tuesday has released 81 of its 240 hostages, according to Reuters. That number includes 60 Israelis—all women and children—and 21 foreign nationals, mostly Thais. In exchange, Israel has released 150 Palestinian prisoners. All of Hamas's hostages were in captivity for at least 50 days.
The terrorists only allowed the hostages to wear a change of clothes on the day of their release—an attempt, the World reported, "to create a false impression that the hostages were well-cared for."
Hamas appears to be keeping the hostages in its vast network of Gaza tunnels. Adina Moshe, 72, "had to adjust to the sunlight" after she had been in darkness for seven weeks, her nephew told the Associated Press. "She was walking with her eyes down because she was in a tunnel. She was not used to the daylight."
At least two hostages required serious medical care after release, according to the AP, with 84-year-old Alma Abraham facing a life-threatening condition.
Hamas appears to have forced "released hostages to perform scripted acts" while handing them over to the Red Cross, an effort that the World described as the terrorists' attempt to convince outsiders "that they're really the good guys." That attempt has worked with some left-wing Americans, the Washington Free Beacon has documented in recent months. Government officials, powerful think tanks, and university students and professors have all defended Hamas and promoted anti-Semitism following the terror attack on the Jewish state.