FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 4, 2023
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Doron Katz Asher, a freed hostage and mother of two children also taken hostage, revealed this morning that Hamas held her and her family hostage in a Gaza hospital for five weeks, subjecting them to “psychological warfare” and withholding adequate medical care for her sick daughter. Asher’s experience, as relayed in a CNN interview, shines new light on Hamas’s use of hospitals in Gaza for terrorist activities. The interview follows new U.S. intelligence assessments that confirm Hamas used al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza to command operations, store weapons, and hold hostages.
Asher’s experience of being held in what she characterized as a “so-called hospital” for five full weeks demonstrates that medical facilities in Gaza were often under Hamas control, and that hostages were not held in such facilities on a merely fleeting basis.
- Asher, her mother and daughters, 5-year-old Raz and 2-year-old Aviv, were thrown into the back of a tractor with other hostages from the kibbutz, before gunmen opened fire. Asher was shot in her back; Aviv was shot in the leg; her mother was shot dead.
- [Asher] said she was subjected to “psychological warfare.” “They didn’t give us a lot of information, they mainly tried to say that Hamas wants to release us but in Israel no one cares about us,” Asher said.
- After 16 days, Asher and her daughters were taken from the apartment to what she described as a “so-called” hospital in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis…[“so-called”] because a hospital is “a place that is supposed to take care of people, but instead it was taken over by Hamas and they used it to hide hostages.”
- They remained in the hospital for nearly five weeks.
- The U.S. has said that Hamas used the Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest in Gaza, as a command center and a place to hold hostages.
- The relief [Asher] felt once released has been tainted by the knowledge that others remain in Gaza. As of December 29, 106 hostages remain in Gaza, as well as the bodies of 23 who have been killed, according to the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office. Among them is Gadi Moses, Asher’s mother’s partner. “We’re waiting for him, he’s going to be 80, he’s without his meds,” Asher said.