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Families Of Israeli Women Held Captive Release A Video Of Their Abduction

Israeli Women

The families of seven female Israeli soldiers, captured by Hamas during the October 7 attacks, have released graphic footage of their abduction to pressure Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to secure their release. The video shows the soldiers, all Israel Defense Forces (IDF) personnel, lined up against a wall with their hands bound, some visibly bruised and bloodied. Originally released by Hamas, the footage was obtained by the Hostages Families Forum from the IDF, which had edited out the most disturbing scenes.

“Every new testimony about what happened to the hostages echoes the same tragic truth – we must bring them all back home, now,” the Hostages Families Forum emphasized in a press release on Wednesday. The women were kidnapped during a Hamas raid on Israel’s Nahal Oz military base near the northern Gaza Strip, part of broader attacks on Israel that resulted in around 1,200 deaths and over 250 people being taken hostage.

Following the attack, Israel initiated a war in Gaza, leading to over 35,000 Palestinian deaths in the past seven months, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza. The kidnapped women were IDF observers, responsible for monitoring Israel’s border security. The video’s release intensifies pressure on Netanyahu to secure the release of the Israelis still held by Hamas. His government has made the captives’ release a key goal of the Gaza offensive. However, numerous attempts to negotiate a hostage-for-ceasefire deal with Hamas have failed, frustrating those campaigning for the captives’ return.

“The State of Israel cannot accept a reality where its citizens constantly feel their lives are threatened and suffer from unrelenting fear and anxiety,” the Hostages Families Forum stated. “With each passing day, it becomes more challenging to bring the hostages back home – the living for rehabilitation and the murdered for proper burial. The Israeli government must not waste another moment; it must return to the negotiating table today!”

Netanyahu expressed his horror at the video, vowing that Israel will continue doing everything to bring the hostages home. “The cruelty of Hamas terrorists only enhances my determination to fight forcefully until the destruction of Hamas,” he said. War cabinet minister Benny Gantz also reacted strongly, emphasizing the responsibility of leaders to create a different reality despite difficult decisions.

One woman in the video, Ori Megidish, was rescued by the IDF 23 days after being taken. Another, IDF Corporal Noa Marciano, was killed in Gaza, and her body was returned to Israel in November. However, five of the seven — Liri Albag, Karina Ariev, Agam Berger, Daniela Gilboa, and Naama Levy — remain in captivity more than seven months later.

Ayelet Levy Shachar, mother of Naama Levy, criticized the government’s lack of prioritization in bringing the hostages home, noting that some officials refused to watch the video, preferring to avoid the distressing content. “If this is the reaction when it’s their duty to watch these materials, we think that we should put it out there for our citizens, for the world to see,” she told CNN.

Although over 100 hostages were freed in a release deal in November, the IDF believes around 130 people are still being held in Gaza.