Rescued hostages said suffering from malnutrition; leaning on each other for support

Doctors at Sheba hospital say Noa Argamani, Shlomi Ziv, Almog Meir Jan, and Andrey Kolzov are constantly seeking each other out

Israeli hostages pictured after their rescue from Hamas captivity in Gaza on June 8, 2024. From left: Shlomi Ziv (IDF); Andrey Kozlov and Almog Meir Jan (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90); and Noa Argamani (Courtesy).
Israeli hostages pictured after their rescue from Hamas captivity in Gaza on June 8, 2024. From left: Shlomi Ziv (IDF); Andrey Kozlov and Almog Meir Jan (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90); and Noa Argamani (Courtesy).

The four hostages who were rescued on Saturday from Gaza are in a worse physical and psychological state than initially believed, according to Hebrew media reports on Sunday.

Noa Argamani, Shlomi Ziv, Almog Meir Jan, and Andrey Kozlov were found to be malnourished during initial medical tests at Sheba Medical Center on Saturday, but the mental influence of their captivity had yet to be established.

The Kan public broadcaster reported Sunday evening that after initial conversations with the four, medical professionals noted that the rescued hostages spoke about awful experiences they had been subjected to in captivity while also saying that their captors cared about their wellbeing.

Jan said that as a “cynical” gesture, his captors made him a cake for his birthday.

Staff at the hospital told the media that the four rescued hostages did not sleep on Saturday night, their first night back in Israel after their rescue, and instead stayed up talking to their families and among themselves.

The doctors also told Kan that the four were constantly seeking each other out, indicating their continued need to lean on each other for support.

Rescued hostage Shlomi Ziv is reunited with his family at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, June 8, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

The rescued hostages have begun to talk about their experiences, according to various reports.

Channel 13 reported on Sunday that Ziv said he had learned Arabic from Al-Jazeera broadcasts he watched in captivity and that their captors made them read the Quran and pray every day.

Argamani has also begun to share some of what she went through, telling her family that she narrowly avoided death four times in captivity, according to Channel 12 news.

According to a Monday Ynet report, Argamani learned Arabic while she was in captivity and used it to become a spokesperson for other female hostages she was held with before they were released in November during a weeklong truce. Before they were separated, Argamani would use the Arabic she learned to get things the hostages needed for them.

She said she had been held in four different apartments during her eight months in captivity and that in the last location, the family made her wash their dishes. Ynet reported that she also cooked at times with basic ingredients she was provided with.

Describing the rescue on Saturday, Argamani said she was washing the dishes when she heard a shout from the living room and saw people with their faces covered who told her they were from the IDF.

Rescued hostage Noa Argamani is reunited with her father Yaakov Argamani at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, June 8, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

“At first, I thought they were making fun of me, and I didn’t move, but then he asked me, ‘Can I throw you over my shoulder?’ and I realized what was happening,” Channel 12 quoted her as saying.

She added that on the way to the extraction spot, their truck broke down.

“It was scary. The soldiers were brave. In a matter of one second, I may not have been here today,” she said.

Argamani was taken to see her mother, Liora, who is suffering from terminal cancer, but her father, Yaakov, said that Liora’s advanced illness made communication between the two difficult.

“I believe she understood what was happening. There was a foggy response, but Liora is in a bad way, and she barely looked at Noa,” Yaakov said.

Doctors at Ichilov Hospital, where Liora is a patient, told Ynet that Noa has become actively involved in her mother’s treatment since her return, seeking extensive information from the medical team and asking questions.

Shortly after Noa was taken captive, Liora appealed to Hamas to let her daughter go so that she could see her before she died.

Kozlov also reunited with his family on Sunday after his parents landed from St. Petersburg. In a video of the reunion, he could be seen falling to his knees and bursting into tears as soon as he saw his mother.

Andrey Kozlov (C), freed from Gaza in an Israeli military operation a day earlier, meets with his parents at Sheba Medical Center, June 9, 2024. (Hostage and Missing Families Forum)

Argamani, Jan, Kozlov and Ziv were abducted from the Supernova music festival near Kibbutz Re’im on the morning of October 7, when 3,000 Hamas-led terrorists killed some 1,200 people and took 251 hostages in a murderous rampage across  southern Israel.

Officers of the police’s elite Yamam counter-terrorism unit, along with Shin Bet agents, on Saturday morning simultaneously raided two multi-story buildings in the heart of Nuseirat, where the four hostages were being held by Hamas-affiliated families and guards of the terror group, according to the military.

Hamas’s government media office claimed at least 274 people were killed amid the operation, an unverified figure that also does not differentiate between combatants and civilians.

The IDF acknowledged that it killed Palestinian civilians amid the fighting, but it placed the blame on Hamas for holding hostages and fighting in a dense civilian environment. “We know about under 100 [Palestinian] casualties. I don’t know how many of them are terrorists,” IDF Spokesman Daniel Hagari said on Saturday.

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