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Mia (21) about life in captivity in Gaza: – I can't get it out of my head

Mia (21) about life in captivity in Gaza: – I can't get it out of my head

The French-Israeli woman who recently returned home after being held hostage in the Gaza Strip says she has lived in constant fear for weeks.


Mia Shem, 21, was attending a music festival in southern Israel when armed Hamas members stormed the border from the Gaza Strip on October 7.

More than 300 people were killed on the festival grounds, and Palestinian militants took dozens hostage.

The planner was released on November 30 as part of a prisoner exchange during the week-long ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Reunion: Mia Shim reunited with her brother and mother at a military base in Israel at the end of November.

In an interview broadcast on Israeli television on Friday, Shim said she was arrested after getting out of her friend's burning car.

The Palestinian kidnapper scratched her upper body and only stopped when she screamed. He discovered she had been shot in the arm and was seriously injured, Shim says.

-I started screaming like crazy. She says there were cars and burned bodies.

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Refusing food

Shim says she was housebound with a family, and that the father at home was taking care of her around the clock. His constant stares made her uncomfortable and filled with fear that he might hurt her.

The man's wife did not like her, and sometimes she was deprived of food for days at a time, the 21-year-old says.

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Israeli authorities said that sexual violence was part of Hamas' rampage in southern Israel and accused the international community of downplaying or ignoring the pain of the victims.

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The first signs of life

Mchemta made international headlines when Hamas released a video of her several days after she was held hostage. In the video, she lies on the bed while someone bandages her arm, and says she wants to go home:

At the time, these were the first signs of life for about 250 people kidnapped from Israel to Gaza.

Shim says she was so frightened that she barely slept in captivity, and that she didn't bathe or get any medication either.

She says the warden's sons would sometimes come up to her and look at her “as if I were an animal in a zoo.”

Brought to the tunnel

Shim says she was moved from the apartment building to a tunnel where she was held for the last few days before being released.

Watch the video – This is how Hamas's secret tunnels are:

In the tunnel, she was kept with six or seven others in a small room and was given one pita bread a day, according to the 21-year-old. She says she knew at this point that she would soon be released.

Skeem goes on to say that she is pursuing repayment of a debt to the other hostages left behind. She broke down during the interview and said she had not yet realized she had gone home or processed the experiences.

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“I can't get it out of my head,” she says.

After the terrorist attacks launched by Hamas in October, Israel responded with large-scale attacks. So far, more than 21,000 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian health authorities – see photos from the past few days: