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Rescued Israeli hostage recounts 'barbarism' of Hamas captors: 'As if we weren't human beings'

Luis Har shares the exhilarating moment he and Fernando Marman were rescued by IDF special forces

Louis Har and Fernando Marman greeted by their family at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer. (Photo: IDF Spokesperson)

Seventy-one-year-old rescued Israeli hostage Luis Har recalled his harrowing 129 days of captivity by Hamas terrorists in Gaza and the dramatic rescue operation by Israeli special forces that led to freedom for him and his brother Fernando Marman last month.

Har recalled the traumatic experience when Hamas terrorists and Palestinians from Gaza attacked him and other Israeli civilians on Oct. 7, known in Israel as the "Black Shabbat."

“It was like a movie. Their barbarism... They didn't consider us at all, as if we were animals or dogs. They just trampled all over us freely. Real barbarians. As if we weren't human beings,” Luis recalled.

“A crowd of youths with a large cleaver threatened to slaughter us. They were going to lynch us, then the car started driving at high speed,” he added about how he was kidnapped from his home in Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak, a rural Israeli community close to the Gaza border.

Har who was born in Argentina, emphasized how the Hamas terrorists used psychological warfare to break the spirit of the Israeli hostages. His captors repeatedly tried to convince the hostages that the Israeli government had abandoned them.

"The terrorists told us it wasn't advisable to wander outside, that they would beat us to death. They really made sure to tell us about every failure of the IDF or every time soldiers were killed. They told us we had nowhere to return to, that Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak no longer existed,” the Argentinian-Israeli said.

They kept telling us not to speak loudly because the UAVs, if they heard us, would pass the information to Netanyahu and Netanyahu would send planes to bomb us because he doesn't want any deal, he wants to kill us. They kept repeating this to us, every day. Eventually, it gets into your head," Luis told local Israeli Ynet News.

Har said that he and his brother Fernando were forced to sleep on dirty and thin mattresses on the floor and survived by eating pieces of pita bread. Luis admitted that there were times during his long captivity in Gaza when he almost gave up hope of ever returning home to his family.

However, on Feb. 12, Har and Marman were rescued from their Hamas captivity by IDF special forces in the southern city of Rafah, close to the Egyptian border. It was one of the most dramatic and risky rescue operations in recent Israeli counter-terrorism history. The Israeli commandos who risked their own lives, eliminated several terrorists while bringing the two Israeli hostages back to freedom.

Har recalled the dramatic moment when IDF commandos arrived to rescue them.

“Luis, it's the IDF! It's the IDF, we came to take you home!” the Israeli forces announced.

“There was gunfire from all directions, like in a movie,” Har recalled. “I have never seen anything like this before, but I knew I was in the best hands with the IDF who risked themselves to save us,” he added.

The former hostage recalled the joy he experienced when he and his brother were reunited with their families in Israel.

“We went from the worst place to the best in such a short space of time,” Har said during the interview.

Some of Har's family members and loved ones were also captured by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7, including his daughter Rinat, his girlfriend Clara and her sister Gabriela Leimberg, Marman's sister.

Leimberg and Clara were released during the fifth round of the hostage release deal, along with Leimberg's daughter Mia.

“We spent 53 days in hell in Hamas captivity, my brother Fernando and my sister’s partner Luis are still there…" Leimberg said at the time.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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