Hostage freed in rescue op says Hamas guards threatened to murder him in captivity

Andrey Kozlov speaks to Channel 12 in a clip that aired July 8, 2024. (Screen capture/Channel 12)
Andrey Kozlov speaks to Channel 12 in a clip that aired July 8, 2024. (Screen capture/Channel 12)

Andrey Kozlov, who was freed from captivity last month along with three other hostages in an IDF rescue operation, says he was convinced by his Hamas guards that they would kill him in captivity.

Kozlov, 27, conducts a series of interviews with Hebrew media for the first time since he was rescued on June 8.

Kozlov, who moved from Russia to Israel some 18 months prior to October 7, conducted the interviews in somewhat broken English.

“In some moments, I was sure that they took us for killing, for murdering and filming this process,” he tells Channel 12, which releases a preview of the full interview that will air in full on Friday.

Kozlov recalls a man with a beard and no mustache coming one day and removing his blindfold. Kozlov was then told that he would be filmed the next day in a propaganda video and then be killed by his captor.

“I was like, so that will be [the end] of my story… Really?” he tells Channel 12.

Speaking to Channel 13, Kozlov says the fear of being killed constantly weighed over him. His captors always had a big knife on them and he was often tied up.

“I felt only one goal that I need to survive and come back home,” he recalls.

He says his time in captivity was so emotionally trying that he now has a hard time feeling anything since his release.

“My source of feelings is empty. Now, I understand everything in my mind, but a lot of things I don’t feel here,” he says, pointing to his heart.

In an interview with Yedioth Ahronoth, Kozlov says his Hamas captors constantly told him and the other hostages that the Israeli government wanted them to die and that they would be killed the moment the IDF tries to rescue them.

Kozlov quipped that the captors didn’t recognize the dissonance in claiming that Israel didn’t care about the hostages while also suggesting that the IDF might come and rescue them.

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