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After 51 days of ‘hell’ in Hamas captivity, an Israeli family held hostage by terrorists share their harrowing ordeal

Five Brodutch family members, L-R: Hagar, Ofri, Avichai, Yuval and Uriah. All but Avichai have been taken hostage. (Avichai Brodutch via AP)

An Israeli mom kidnapped with her three kids by Hamas recalled her excruciating 51 days in captivity, where they subsisted on a pita a day in a tiny room rattled by bomb blasts.

Hagar Brodutch, 40, publicly shared her family’s agonizing survival story for the first time with a US audience on Thursday night at an emotional event at Park East Synagogue in Manhattan organized by Israeli charity Belev Echad.

Hagar and her husband Avihai, 42, and their children Ofri, 10, Yuval, 9 and Oriya, 4, awoke on Oct. 7 to the sound of rockets fired from Gaza – just hours after they had finished celebrating Ofri’s birthday.

Hagar and the kids rushed to the safe room while her husband Avihai, 42, a member of the Kibbutz civil guard, ran to the town armory to retrieve his firearm.

The children’s friend from school, Abigail Mor Idan, who narrowly escaped after Hamas terrorists dressed as IDF soldiers killed her parents in front of her, soon arrived at their front door.

“She was [covered] with blood,” Hagar recounted, “but then we realized it wasn’t her blood.”

As Avihai ran to the armory, terrorists shot at him, and when he arrived, he realized Hamas was already there waiting for the civil guard to show up.

“They knew everything, they had really good reconnaissance,” Avihai said.

Seven members of the civil guard were killed and three were injured in the ensuing firefight.

“Four of my friends died right next to me,” Avihai said.

Armed with an M16, Avihai exchanged fire with Hamas killers who shot RPGs and lobbed hand grenades. Avihai was wounded in his leg and arm.

Back at home,15 terrorists forced their way into the safe room, kidnapping Hagar and the kids, and taking them on a “crazy drive into Gaza.”

“All the people in Gaza was cheering and happy,” Hagar recalled. “They hit me, the terrorists tried to show everybody that they had a little girl with them.”

Back at home,15 terrorists forced their way into the safe room, kidnapping Hagar and the kids, and taking them on a “crazy drive into Gaza.”

They were then taken to an apartment in Gaza with no running water. After two weeks IDF bombing collapsed the building, according to Hagar. Her daughter Ofri was hurt by the blast, suffering a head wound.

The hostages were relocated to another apartment where they were guarded by three terrorists at all times, and only permitted to leave their locked room to use the bathroom.

The family was forced to subsist on nothing but one pita each per day for weeks. “I had to beg for food for my kids,” Hagar said.

Their captors played sadistic psychological games with them. “We were told there’s no Kfar Aza [their kibbutz] any longer,” Hagar said. And for the entire 51 days, they had no idea if Avihai was dead or alive.

“It was hell.” Hagar said.

Hagar, her children and Abigail were finally freed in late November. They were too traumatized to return home.

The community rallied around them. A stranger offered them a home to stay in free of charge, and their neighbors pitched in to furnish it. “They filled our refrigerator with food,” the mom recalled.

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