When 84-year-old Elma Abraham was taken hostage from her home on Kibbutz Nahal Oz on October 7, she was an independent member of the community, according to her family.
When Hamas released her on Sunday, she was “fighting for her life,” according to health workers.
The great-grandmother was released along with 16 other hostages, including a 4-year-old American girl named Abigail Aidan, on the third day of the truce between Israel and Hamas.
Although the other hostages returned in good health, Abraham’s daughter told reporters that her mother arrived with a pulse of 40 beats per minute and a body temperature of just 28 degrees. The deputy director of Soroka Hospital in Beersheba said that her condition is still critical, and that she is subject to artificial respiration and sedated in the intensive care unit.
“They kept her in horrific conditions,” her daughter, Tali Amano, said outside the hospital. “My mother arrived hours before she went missing.”
The speech was supported by Israeli military spokesman Admiral Daniel Hagari. He added: “She was detained in harsh conditions. They deprived her of basic medicines. The Red Cross did not visit her.”
He said the woman “is a reminder of our critical mission” and asked, “Who is taking care of the other hostages in the Gaza Strip?”
Amano described her mother as being “happy, connected and embraced by the entire community” before she was taken away. She stated that although the mother suffered from chronic health problems, they were under control.
“They held her for 52 days in conditions in which no human being should be held,” said Hagai Levin, head of medical affairs at the Missing Families and Hostages Forum. “Simply without human dignity, abuse is unconscionable.”
Amano said he met with the Red Cross and begged them to give his mother the medicine, but they said they were unable to deliver it. “My mother didn’t have to come back like this, and I have no idea how she will spend these days.”
A Red Cross spokesman told Reuters: “We are meeting directly with the families and they are asking us to bring personal medications but we are unable to do so.”
He added: “We continue to request access to the hostages, as we have done from day one, and we are prepared to make these visits.”
Abraham’s doctor accompanied her as she and other hostages left the Gaza Strip.
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