Freed hostages to Defense Minister: ‘Don’t send our soldiers into tunnels’

Gantz: ‘First, the hostages have to be returned. We’ll have a lifetime to battle Hamas.’

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

During a meeting Saturday night with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and fellow war cabinet minister Benny Gantz, released hostages urged the officials not to send IDF soldiers into the terror tunnels in Gaza.

The highlights of the conversation were broadcast on Channel 12 news and featured the freed hostages discussing their harrowing experiences in Gaza.

“There’s no time. Every passing day is terrifying. You have no idea what kind of monsters we are dealing with. If they’re feeling threatened, they will use the captives.”

“They scared us that the IDF would use the Hannibal Directive on civilians, and therefore we were scared when the [IDF] bombings were close,” they continued.

“They were so close that we begged them to take us [from the building in which we were held] into the tunnels [for safety], and at one stage they did.”

The released hostages emphasized that the tunnels were unsafe, “Don’t go into the tunnels. They are moving around in there in vast numbers. It’s a colossal danger to soldiers and to hostages.”

Gantz reassured them that the hostages were the first priority and said, “First, the hostages have to be returned. We’ll have a lifetime to battle Hamas.”

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He responded concerning the goal of destroying Yahya Sinwar, the mastermind behind the October 7th massacre.

“It’s a long process. [Yahya] Sinwar has entered the pantheon of Islam, as the third warrior. And after him there will be others… But he’s not the story. The story is also to eliminate the idea.”

When asked about what framework he would consider for further hostage releases, Gantz said, “There was no framework of ‘all for all’ [as in, all hostages freed in exchange for all Palestinian security prisoners].”

“There’s a leadership there that has no consideration for its civilians. Its goal is to break Israeli society. I’m prepared to give a lot, but I won’t discuss it publicly.”