Rocky Sickmann lived through 444 days of terror as one of 52 Americans held captive during the Iran Hostage Crisis that began in 1979. The former Marine is now urging people to pray for the hostages facing an uncertain future in Gaza as the war between Israel and Hamas rages on with no end in sight.
“Forty-four years ago, the war on terrorism started the day that the Islamic Republic of Iran attacked the American embassy using women as shields as they broke through the basement,” he told FOX News’ Dana Perino Thursday.
“Just as you heard that story about Gaza having a missile launcher right next to a hospital. I mean, it’s their fingerprints all over this thing, and it’s very sad.”
Details about hostages taken by Hamas since terrorists launched surprise attacks on residential areas in Israel on Oct. 7 have remained largely unclear, with Israel claiming that Hamas is holding 199 Israelis hostage.
Thirteen Americans also remain unaccounted for.
President Biden, speaking after his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, said, “There’s no higher priority than the release and safe return of all these hostages” captured by Hamas terrorists.
“We, as Americans, should never forget those individuals that are over there,” Sickmann said Thursday. “The Islamic Republic of Iran has done this for 44 years. They have humiliated every president that we have had. And here they are, to this day, doing the same thing.”
Senior members of Hamas and Hezbollah both reportedly claimed that Iran aided in planning the surprise attack launched nearly two weeks ago, but U.S. leaders say they have yet to see evidence of Iran’s involvement.
The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, reported the day after the war began that Iranian security officials approved the plan to attack Israel during a recent meeting in Beirut.
As of Thursday afternoon, approximately 4,800 have died in the Israel-Hamas war, including 1,400 Israelis and at least 31 Americans. The future for hostages taken back to Gaza remains uncertain.
Sickmann and his family lived in horror as he waited to be freed 44 years ago, and he offered his sympathy for those in Gaza now.
“My parents taught me three things: love of family, love of faith and love of country, and I never forgot those three things, and it was such a strain not only on myself but my parents,” he said.
“And yes, the young girl that I had met right before I went over there, she had waited for me for 444 days. We’ve been married now 42 wonderful years.”
The Iran Hostage Crisis began on Nov. 4, 1979 when militarized students seized the U.S. embassy to protest President Jimmy Carter’s decision to allow the deposed Shah of Iran into the U.S. for medical treatment.
Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran’s supreme religious leader, allowed female and minority Americans to be released along with all non-U.S. captives, citing they were oppressed by the American government.
Fifty-two hostages – mostly State Department employees and Marines – remained and were freed shortly after Ronald Reagan took office in 1981.
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FOX News’ Bradford Betz, Greg Norman and Emma Colton contributed to this report.