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Hamas releases new hostage video

The footage was released as the militants consider an Israeli ceasefire proposal

Hamas has released a proof-of-life video of two hostages, including a US dual citizen. In the footage, the captives urge Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to strike a ceasefire deal with the Palestinian militants.

Published on Saturday, the undated video depicts Omri Miran, an Israeli, and Kieth Siegel, an Israeli-American dual citizen, speaking to a camera against a nondescript background. Miran says that he has been held for 202 days, indicating that the video was filmed on Friday. 

Miran describes “living in extremely tough conditions due to the intense bombardment,” while Siegel encourages Netanyahu to “be more flexible in negotiations to reach an exchange deal soon.”

“It’s about time to reach a deal that would bring us back home safe and alive,” Miran adds.

The video concludes with a message to the Israeli public from Hamas: “Your Nazi leaders don’t care about the fate of your imprisoned sons and their feelings. Realize this before it’s too late.”

While Miran and Siegel likely read their statements under duress, their sentiment is shared by organizations representing the roughly 130 hostages thought to remain in Hamas captivity in Gaza. These groups have organized weekly protests in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem demanding that Netanyahu reach a deal with Hamas to release their loved ones. 

At a rally in Tel Aviv on Saturday, Miran’s father called on Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar to “show some humanity” to his son, and implored Netanyahu to approve “any feasible deal” to bring him home.

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Saturday’s video was released three days after a similar clip showing injured Israeli-American hostage Hersh Goldberg-Polin. “While you sit and have holiday meals with your families, think of us, the hostages, who are still here in hell,” Goldberg-Polin tells Netanyahu in the video, referring to this weekend’s Jewish holiday of Passover.

Netanyahu has vowed to continue waging war in Gaza until Israel achieves “total victory” over Hamas, and has thus far refused to consider the group’s demand that any ceasefire deal be permanent and include an Israeli withdrawal from the enclave. 

In a statement on Saturday, Hamas said that it was studying an Israeli ceasefire proposal delivered via Egyptian and Qatari mediators earlier this month. West Jerusalem anticipates an answer from Hamas within the next 48 hours, Israel’s Channel 12 news outlet reported later in the afternoon.

Israel and Hamas agreed to a week-long truce in November, during which 80 Israeli hostages were exchanged for 240 Palestinians held in Israeli jails. 

READ MORE: Israel rejects US call to probe Gaza mass graves – Politico

As Israel’s military campaign in Gaza approaches the eight-month mark, the UN warned on Friday that “famine thresholds in Gaza will be breached within the next six weeks” unless Israel allows “massive and consistent” deliveries of food to the besieged enclave. According to the latest data from Gaza’s health ministry, at least 34,388 people have been killed since the Israeli campaign began, most of them women and children.

April 28, 2024 at 01:44AM

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