Hamas terrorists are using Israeli hostage release as a game of psychological warfare

On Sunday evening, when Israeli newscasters announced that 4-year-old Avigail Idan was among the third batch of hostages being released by Hamas from Gaza, it seemed as if the entire Jewish state breathed a collective sigh of relief. 

The curly-haired toddler, an American citizen whose parents were both brutally murdered by Hamas terrorists on their kibbutz in southern Israel on Oct. 7, is only one of the hundreds of horrifying stories that have captured the public’s attention here over the past seven weeks. 

Yet her release – and that of other Israeli children – as part of a ceasefire deal now playing out between Israel and the terror group that governs the Palestinian enclave can be seen as a clear symbol of the psychological warfare that continues to be waged by the terrorists against Israelis. 

"This is psychological terrorism, that is the only way to describe it," Lt. Col. (res) Shaul Bartal, a senior researcher at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar Ilan University near Tel Aviv, told Fox News Digital.

For the past three days, since the truce went into effect early Friday morning with the promise that some 40 children, their mothers and maybe even grandmothers, would be released by Hamas after nearly 50 days in captivity, a real-life psychological thriller – akin, some have said to the fictional survival process themed in Suzanne Collins’ popular trilogy The Hunger Games – has been playing out.

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