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50 Days of Hell: Freed Israeli Hostage Reveals Ordeal of ‘Psychological Warfare’

In a dramatic rescue mission flown secretly into Gaza, 19-year-old Israeli hostage Sofiya Elyashiv was reunited with her family on Thursday after enduring 50 days of psychological warfare during her captivity by members of the Palestinian faction Hamas. The teenager’s captivity had been shrouded in secrecy since her outright abduction in late December, and the pressure to get her back has been heavy on her family and the Israeli government for the last few months. During her ordeal, Elyashiv was reportedly subjected to harsh interrogations and psychological techniques in an effort to break her spirit. Elyashiv was left malnourished and weak when she was eventually found and freed by Israeli forces. In a revealing interview following her return, she described her experience being held captive as one of psychological warfare. Elyashiv explained that she had been constantly subjected to questioning and had faced threats from her captors to the point that she “lost hope in God.” Her case accentuates how effective psychological tactics can be when used as weapons to break down a victim’s will and coerce confessions or false statements. Elyashiv’s story should also make everyone aware of the plight of hostages languishing in captivity and the immense psychological as well as physical safeguards that must always be exercised in the ongoing mission to reunite every hostage safely with their families.

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