New video shows Hamas fighters taking Israeli soldiers hostage

The families of several Israeli female soldiers taken hostage during the Hamas-led attack on October 7 have released video of their abduction in a bid to pressure the Israeli government to restore apparently stalled ceasefire talks that could pave the way for the release of female prisoners. .

The family members first saw the footage a few weeks ago via the Israeli army, which formally gave them a copy Tuesday night, according to the Hostages and Missing Families Forum, which represents the families of hostages held captive in Gaza.

“I ask you, please, to show this clip every day, to open your broadcasts with it,” Eli Albag, whose daughter Liri Albag can be seen in the video, said in a television interview with Israel's Channel 12. “Until someone wakes up, the nation wakes up and realizes that they have been abandoned there for 229 days.”

Some Israeli politicians immediately seized on the images to try to push back against the decision by Ireland, Norway and Spain to unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state. Israel Katz, the foreign minister, said he would screen the footage during a “severe rebuke” of the countries' ambassadors.

In the collection of three-minute videos, verified by the New York Times, Palestinian fighters, some wearing Hamas armbands, can be seen tying the hands of five Israeli women who were serving as lookouts at Nahal Oz, a military base near the border. of Gaza. At least two of the hostages' faces are bloody. Militants repeatedly threaten women.

One of the militants calls the women “dogs”, vowing to crush them. One of the women can be heard telling the militants that she had “a friend in Palestine”, while another begs to know if any of them speak English.

Talks to secure the release of more than 125 hostages still held in Gaza, some have remained stalled since Israel began its assault on the southern city of Rafah in early May. Israeli forces operating in northern Gaza have recovered the bodies of four kidnapped Israelis on October 7, raising fears for the remaining captives.

The Forum on Hostages and Missing Families identified the Israeli soldiers taken hostage in the video as Naama Levy, Agam Berger, Liri Albag, Karina Ariev and Daniela Gilboa, all aged 19 or 20. The footage was recorded by cameras worn by the Hamas militants who abducted them, the organization said.

The hostages' families met on Wednesday with senior Israeli leaders, including Yoav Gallant, defense minister, and Benny Gantz, a member of the country's war cabinet, in a bid to push for an immediate deal with Hamas.

“The video is a damning testimony to the nation's failure to bring home the hostages, who were abandoned for 229 days,” the Forum on Hostages and Missing Families said in a statement.

In a statement on social media, Gantz said he was appalled by the footage of the abduction of the five hostages and vowed to make “tough decisions” if necessary to bring the remaining captives home in Gaza.

Yair Lapid, leader of Israel's parliamentary opposition, said the video was “a reminder to the world of the evil we are fighting in Gaza.”

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