Maya Regev, a 21-year-old from Herzliya, near Tel Aviv, has been released from captivity after being held for 50 days by Hamas operatives. This dramatic event unfolded when Maya and her younger brother, Itay, 18, were attending the Tribe of Nova music festival in southern Israel on October 7.
The festival turned into a scene of terror as Hamas operatives abducted them along with other attendees. The situation became even more harrowing when Maya was injured by gunfire while talking on the phone with her father, Ilan Regev.
Desperately trying to locate his children, Ilan's efforts were impeded by roadblocks, leaving him unable to reach the site of the attack. The last words he heard from his daughter were a chilling plea for help: "Dad, come here.
They're shooting at me, I'm dying."
Widening Gaza Conflict
The siblings' ordeal was part of a larger crisis that saw 1,200 Israelis lose their lives and over 200 captured during the October 7 attack on the Gaza Strip, a conflict that has since escalated dramatically.
Israel has responded with significant military force, leading to substantial casualties on both sides, including at least 15,000 fatalities as reported by Hamas' health ministry. Maya's release, along with 12 other Israelis, came as part of a truce agreement that saw the exchange of Palestinian prisoners.
This agreement also includes a four-day ceasefire and increased humanitarian aid into Gaza. While Maya has been reunited with her family and is currently receiving treatment for a leg injury, her brother Itay remains in captivity, a painful reality for their family.
Their mother, Mirit Regev, expressed the family's anguish and longing for the return of both children, emphasizing their love for life and the innocence of their intentions in attending the festival. "She loves life, she makes plans, she leads and brings others with her.
Itay, he loves to surf, to laugh, to live," Mirit shared with the Times of Israel. As the conflict continues, the international community watches closely, hoping for a resolution that will bring an end to the violence and reunite families like the Regevs. The ongoing negotiations and exchange of prisoners mark a critical point in this prolonged and complex conflict.