Israeli family held hostage together, separated after release

STORY: Sharon Alony-Cunio, along with her two young twins spent a harrowing 52 days as a Hamas hostage in the Gaza Strip.

And in the first interview since her release, she told Reuters her thoughts were now with her husband, David, who is still held captive.

"Three days before we were released they separated David from us, they took him into a different hiding place, and since then I don’t know what is happening to him. The girls are torn, I’m torn, he’s been my partner for 10 years, he’s my other half and the love of my life, he’s the father of my girls who are asking every day – where’s daddy, where’s daddy? I need to explain to them that he is still there.”

Alony-Cunio was one of 240 people taken hostage on Oct. 7 by Hamas gunmen who burst through the border with Israel and killed 1,200 people.

The militants who attacked her kibbutz set fire to her house and took her away at gunpoint after she climbed out the window.

She was taken across the border with her husband David and one of their twins…

Their second daughter was held separately in Gaza for 10 days before they were reunited in captivity.

"Every minute we're waiting is like a Russian roulette. Will they live through the day or not. And the conditions are difficult, conditions that no one needs to live in, specially not children or adults without medicine. We saw that many have already lost their lives in captivity. So each moment is critical and we need to do everything to put the aim of releasing all hostages prior to anything else."

Alony-Cunio said her group of hostages was held above ground and moved a few times, but with memories still raw and with her husband still inside, she declined to go into details.

A seven-day truce saw more than 100 hostages released. The rest are still being held as Israel bombards Gaza, vowing to take out Hamas.

According to local health authorities, more than 18,000 people have been killed in Gaza since the start of fighting.

Now back home with her twin three-year-olds, Julie and Emma, Alony-Cunio pleads for the remaining 137 hostages to be freed.

“There are a lot of families without a father, without a daughter, without a brother, without a grandfather, grandmother, mother. Everyone, it’s like 138 families there. They need to come back now. You have to do everything you can to bring them back now.”