Israeli-Russian released by Hamas had escaped for 4 days, was recaptured in Gaza

Elena Magid, Roni Krivoi’s aunt, says 25-year-old fled captors after building collapsed following IDF airstrikes but could not reach border

Russian-Israeli Roni Krivoi is seen inside the International Red Cross vehicle at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt ahead of his transfer to Israel on November 26, 2023. (Screenshot)
Russian-Israeli Roni Krivoi is seen inside the International Red Cross vehicle at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt ahead of his transfer to Israel on November 26, 2023. (Screenshot)

Elena Magid, the aunt of Israeli-Russian hostage Roni Krivoi, who was released on Sunday, revealed that Krivoi had managed to escape his captors and hide in Gaza for four days before being recaptured.

Magid told Kan public radio that Krivoi had told her he had initially been held in a building that ended up collapsing as a result of IDF airstrikes, enabling him to flee his captors.

“He managed to escape and hid alone for several days. In the end, the Gazans captured him and returned him to the terrorists’ hands,” she said.

“He tried to reach the border, but I think because he didn’t have the means to understand where he was and where to escape to, he got tangled up in the area. For several days – four days – he was alone. I asked him how do you feel? Do you have nightmares at night? He told me, ‘Listen, I have nightmares, but everything is alright.'”

Magid said that Krivoi was part of the production team at the Supernova rave near the Gaza border where hundreds were killed and kidnapped during the Hamas terror onslaught on October 7. He fled with a friend when the Hamas attack started, eventually hiding by himself inside a pit.

“His friend was in contact with him until 10:30 a.m. Roni told him that he heard the sounds of terrorists, and around 10:40 the friend called him and they answered in Arabic. He said ‘Roni, Roni,’ and they laughed and disconnected the phone, and after that contact was lost.”

Initially, Krivoi’s family did not know what had happened to him. “We didn’t receive any information from anyone. All of our children started to piece information like a puzzle, to understand what happened with Roni, whether he was injured or not, and only after a week, on October 12, we received an official notice from the IDF that Roni was most likely kidnapped to Gaza.”

An International Red Cross vehicle carrying Russian-Israeli hostage Roni Krivoi released by Hamas drives towards the Rafah border point with Egypt, ahead of a transfer to Israel on November 26, 2023. (Mohammed ABED / AFP)

Magid added that despite some stitches on his head, Krivoi is healthy and in good physical condition.

Krivoi was released on Sunday as a gesture by Hamas toward Russian President Vladimir Putin and not as part of the four-day truce deal between Israel and Hamas in effect since Friday.

“It’s true that his parents had Russian citizenship because his mother’s parents lived in Saint Petersburg and obtained citizenship for Roni when he was little,” Magid said. “He is an Israeli citizen, and I think that the distinction made in the media yesterday of ’13 hostages and one more’ is not appropriate. It hurts us as Israeli citizens.”

The 25-year-old was born in Israel, the youngest sibling in a Russian immigrant family. He was working as a sound technician at the Supernova festival.

Over the last three days, 39 Israeli hostages and 117 Palestinian prisoners have been released, part of a deal that is slated to ultimately see 50 Israeli women and children freed from captivity in Gaza, where they have been since October 7, in exchange for a four-day ceasefire and 150 Palestinian security prisoners.

Israel launched a military campaign to topple Gaza’s Hamas rulers after the terror group led the October 7 assault on southern Israel that left some 1,200 people dead, with another approximately 240 taken hostage.

The deal provides for the truce to be extended by an extra day for every ten additional Israeli hostages released by Hamas above the initially agreed-upon 50, with three Palestinian security prisoners to be freed in exchange for each Israeli hostage freed.

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