Families release video showing bloodied female hostages being kidnapped by Hamas

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The families of hostages held in Gaza have released footage showing Hamas kidnapping five female soldiers during its brutal attack on Israel on 7 October.

The young women, some still wearing pyjamas, are seen huddled against a wall with bloodied faces and clothing as the gunmen scream at them. More than a dozen militants are seen binding their hands, with one shouting in English for them to be quiet.

One of the gunmen is heard telling them in Arabic, “You dogs, we will step on you … we will shoot you all”, while another tells one of the captives in English, “You’re beautiful.”

Seven young female soldiers aged 19 and 20 were captured by Hamas gunmen from the Nahal Oz military base on the day of the massacre of 1,200 that sparked the Israel-Hamas conflict in the Strip. The soldiers were monitoring surveillance cameras of the Gaza border.

The Israeli army rescued one of the soldiers early in the war and said a second was killed in Hamas captivity. The five women in the video are believed to still be held by Hamas.

Naama Levy, a 19-year-old who had been part of an Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative, is heard telling the militants in the video in English: “I have friends in Palestine.”

Israel’s army recently declassified the video and turned it over to the women’s relatives. The Hostages and Missing Families Forum, which released the video, said the families were publicising the footage in an effort to pressure their government into reaching a deal with Hamas for the hostages‘ release.

SENSITIVE MATERIAL. THIS IMAGE MAY OFFEND OR DISTURB Female hostages who are Israeli soldiers Liri Albag, Agam Berger and Naama Levy during their capture by Gazan militants at Nahal Oz military base in southern Israel on October 7, 2023, in this screen grab taken from a video released on May 22, 2024. The Hostages Families Forum/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IN-FRAME SUBTITLE FROM SOURCELiri Albag, Agam Berger and Ms Levy during their capture by Hamas militants (Photo: Hostages Families Forum/Handout via Reuters)Undated family handout photo of Naama Levy one of the hostages currently being held in Gaza. Issue date: Monday May 20, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Israel. Photo credit should read: Family handout/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.Ms Levy, 19, is heard telling the gunmen in the video she has friends in Palestine (Photo: PA)

Ms Levy’s brother, Amit, told the BBC during a visit to London: “We hope that this video will encourage all sides to get back to the table and understand that it’s an unbearable humanitarian issue that needs to be solved. This might be the last chance to save them.”

He said the footage was a “very hard watch… seeing my little sister with such a… such a look in her eyes”.

“I never imagined I would see her this frightened and hurt,” he said.

But he added: “We feel like she’s handling the situation like the true superhero she is, like a hero fighting for her life.”

Ashley Waxman Bakshi, cousin of another woman in the video, Agam Berger, said she cried when she saw it. “Toward the end, I felt like I was going to throw up. I think any person who watches this video will understand that feeling, especially as a woman,” she said.

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The footage released on Wednesday is about three minutes long and edited, with some images blurred to censor what the forum said is especially sensitive material.

In one scene, Hamas fighters are seen kneeling to pray in front of some of the soldiers, who are handcuffed and seated on the ground. One has visible cuts on her legs, and blood pools onto the ground beneath her as a militant binds her hands behind her back.

Another clip shows the militants dragging two of the soldiers toward a jeep as gunfire is heard. One captive is barefoot, hopping on one foot because of an apparent leg injury.

A group of militants is also seen holding a hostage by the hands and feet. It is not clear whether the hostage is alive or dead. Another scene shows three of the soldiers in the back of a moving vehicle, faces bloodied as militants surround them. Ms Berger, wearing a brown shirt, is one of them.

“We know she’s alive. We can feel it. She has a twin sister, she feels her,” Ms Bakshi said of her cousin. “She was taken hostage not severely injured. You can see from the video.”

Hamas called the video “a manipulated excerpt” whose authenticity “cannot be verified”. The militant group said the minor injuries and blood on the soldiers “is to be expected in such operations” but denied physically assaulting the women.

More than 35,500 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s military offensive, according to the enclave’s health ministry.

Israel has previously released other video and photos from 7 October in an effort to gain support for its military campaign in Gaza.

“Every new testimony about what happened to the hostages echoes the same tragic truth – we must bring them all back home, now,” the families group said in a statement. “The Israeli government must not waste another moment.”

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Date : 2024-05-23 07:00:00


Author : PhotoVideoMag

Publish date : 2024-06-12 09:07:09

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