Israeli President Isaac Herzog said in an interview that the release of hostages amid the temporary ceasefire between Israel and militant group Hamas has been “a huge emotional storm.”
During an appearance on CNN, Herzog told host Wolf Blitzer that it is “extremely important” for Israelis to see “good news” for the first time in the duration of the war.
“The fact that you see young girls, a young boy, or grandmothers walking through and going to Israeli hospitals and coming back and meeting their families is a huge emotional storm,” Herzog told Blitzer on Sunday.
“It’s something that gives us happiness, but of course, happiness with a lot of sorrow in it because there are at least 200 hostages still held out there in Hamas — under Hamas duress, somewhere in bunkers somewhere without knowing what, how — they live and what they’re aware about. Some family torn apart.”
Herzog also noted that some hostages who were released still have family members held captive by the militant group, saying it is “the families apart.”
“And as you can see, throughout the last few days, Hamas is treading on our psychology with a kind of a passive aggressive approach which wants to drive us as a nation crazy because of the emotions filled and because of the extreme pain and worry of so many relatives to their friends and family who are out there in Gaza,” Herzog added.
The remarks come as the Israeli military announced Sunday that 17 people — 14 Israelis and three foreign nationals — were released from Hamas’s captivity in Gaza. The ages of the released Israeli citizens range from 4 to 84 years old.
This is the latest round of hostages to be freed amid the four-day cease-fire between Israel and the militant group; 50 hostages were expected to be released by Monday. Twenty-four of them were released in the first wave Friday, and an additional 17 were released the following day.
It’s been a month since Hamas’s surprise attack against Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,200 people. Israel has since launched a wave of attacks in the Gaza Strip, resulting in the death of tens of thousands of Palestinian residents, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.