Israelis released in the past week by Hamas in Gaza called for the immediate release of the hostages still in captivity.
Yelena Trupanov, 50, joined a rally in Tel Aviv just two days after being freed, telling the crowd:
“I came to thank you because without you, I wouldn’t be here. Now we must bring back my [son] Sasha and everyone. Now.”
EuroJournal newspaper cited another former hostage, Hadas Calderon, who told the thousands of people gathered about the uncertainty and terror of being held hostage, adding that her husband, Ofer, is still in Gaza.
Similar messages from other released hostages were shown on video.
In one, 85-year-old Yaffa Adar called on “the decisionmakers, get the children and everyone out. … I am a voice for many mothers and grandmothers asking, ‘Release the children now.’ I want to see them now. Not when I’m in a coffin.”
A seven-day truce, during which Hamas had released 110 hostages, ended on Friday. The Israeli military said Saturday that Hamas continues to hold 137 people hostage.
More than 240 people — Israelis and foreign nationals — were abducted to Gaza on October 7 by Hamas militants who burst through the border with Israel and killed 1,200 people, according to local authorities.
Israel responded with a bombing campaign and ground offensive against Hamas — a group designated as a terrorist organization by the US, the EU and several other governments.
Israel’s retaliation has destroyed large areas of Gaza and killed more than 15,000 people, according to the Health Ministry in the Hamas-run enclave.