Sunday, June 16, 2024

Family of remaining Mexican hostage in Gaza speaks out

The parents of Mexican citizen Orión Hernández Radoux remain in the dark about the status of their son, a traveler who was attending an open-air concert in Israel before being taken hostage in Hamas’ Oct. 7 surprise attack.

Though they haven’t heard anything official since late October, his father, Sergio Hernández, and mother, French-born Marie-Pascale Radoux, say they still have hope their son is alive.

Father of Orión Hernández in interview with CNN
Orión’s father, Sergio Hernández (right), gave an interview to CNN en Español this week expressing hope that his son is still alive. (Screen capture)

“Hope obviously exists,” Hernández told CNN en Español this week. “We presume that he is alive because [his friends called] Orión’s phone, and a terrorist or a person from Hamas said that Orión was alive, that they had him prisoner and that he was going to be used as exchange for political purposes.”

A few days later, a general in the Israel Defense Forces confirmed to Hernández that his son was among the approximately 250 people taken hostage by Hamas during a violent incursion into Israel that also killed some 1,200 people, mostly civilians.

But that information came during the final week of October, nearly three months ago.

In the interim, Hamas has released more than 100 hostages, including the only other Mexican hostage, Ilana Gritzewsky, but Orión Hernández was not among them. Moreover, no hostages have been released by the group since Dec. 1. 

Ilana Gritzewsky (right), the other Mexican taken hostage, was released by Hamas in December. (@enlacejudio/X)

As of midweek, an estimated 107 living hostages remain in captivity in Gaza, according to the Washington Post. Monday, Jan. 15, will mark their 100th day in captivity.

“At first you think that it will be resolved soon, but as time passes, it becomes much darker,” the father said. It’s particularly painful, he continued, “when you start to think [about whether] he lacks food, if he lacks water, if it is cold — or if he saw how they killed his girlfriend.”

Hernández, 32, was abducted as he tried to flee the Tribe of Nova electronic music festival, which was being held in Israel near its border with the Gaza Strip. Shani Louk, a 23-year-old German Israeli believed to be Hernández’s girlfriend, was later found dead after being tortured and paraded around in a pickup truck.

“It was very bad luck because … two days before, he spoke to me and he was in Greece [and] he did not plan to move. He was already very tired,” his mother, Marie-Pascale, said on Milenio Televisión. “I was very surprised to know that he went [to Israel].”

Earlier this week, Hernández’s mother called for a cease fire. “The most important thing today is that there is a ceasefire or proof [that the hostages are alive]… because without that the hostages cannot be released,” she said. “That is why we ask for the support of all Mexicans, Latinos, the United States, all our friends and relatives [to] ask for a ceasefire or evidence.”

Hernández’s grandmother recently sent a letter to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador asking for information and help from the Mexican government. 

The Times of Israel, CNN, AFP and other publications refer to Hernández as a Franco-Mexican, classifying him as one of four French nationals still being held hostage by Hamas, the Palestinian militant group.

With reports from CNN en Español, Milenio and AFP

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