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Hamas releases video of Israeli hostages in Gaza demanding Netanyahu agree to prisoner swap

IDF video shows troops pushing deeper into Gaza
Israel announces release of soldier held hostage as its ground troops push deeper into Gaza 03:57

The Palestinian militant group Hamas, facing the mounting fury of the Israeli military's ground and air attacks, released a short video clip Monday showing three of the more than 230 hostages Israel says the group seized during its bloody Oct. 7 terror rampage. Sitting between two others, all apparently among those held in the Gaza Strip by Hamas, one of the three women issues an impassioned message directly to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, deriding him for failing to prevent Hamas' attack and for failing to secure the release of the captives.

There are no other people visible during the video clip, and it is not clear how willingly the one woman who speaks gave her remarks, or how much of her statement might have been dictated by Hamas. 

A screengrab from a video released on Oct. 30, 2023 by the Hamas militant group shows three women among the roughly 220 people held hostage by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Taken from video released by Hamas

The woman who speaks is Daniel Aloni, who was kidnapped with her daughter as they visited family at Kibbutz Nir Oz, which was the scene of a brutal Hamas attack on Oct. 7. She starts by addressing Netanyahu, saying: "You promised to free us all. Instead we bear your political and military failure."

Aloni refers to "a mistake" that Israel's leaders made on Oct. 7, the day Hamas militants stormed across southern Israel, killing some 1,400 people and kidnapping over 200 others according to Israeli officials, including soldiers and civilians from infants to the elderly. 

"No one came. No one was watching over us," Aloni says, without clarifying what mistake she's referring to. 

Freed Israeli speaks about time as Hamas hostage 04:27

She continues her message, presumably delivered at the behest of the Hamas militants holding her, to ask if the Israeli government, which has significantly ramped up both its aerial assault and its ground operations in Gaza over the last several days, "want to kill us all? Do you want to kill us all with an army?"

"Release us now," she shouts, then alluding to Hamas' suggestion that it could free all of its hostages in exchange for the release of the roughly 6,000 Hamas members said to be held in Israeli prisons.

"Release their prisoners. Set us all free. Let us return to our families!" Aloni says, becoming increasingly emotional before screaming into the camera: "Now! Now!"

In a statement issued shortly after the release of the video, Netanyahu's office condemned the clip as "cruel psychological propaganda" by Hamas and vowed to "do everything to return all the kidnapped and missing people home." 

The statement included a quote attributed to Netanyahu, saying: "I turn to Yelena Trupanov, Daniel Aloni and Ramon Kirsht who were kidnapped by Hamas which commits war crimes. I hug you. Our hearts go out to you and the other abductees." 

"We are doing everything to bring all the kidnapped and missing people home," added the prime minister in the statement.

Volunteers mobilize to aid Israeli hostage families 07:17

Trupanova, who appears on the right in the video, is also believed to have been abducted from Nir Oz, while the third woman, Kirsht, is thought to have been abducted from Kibbutz Nirim.

Hamas has thus far released only four of the hostages it seized on Oct. 7, two Israeli women and two U.S.-Israeli nationals. It said all four were released on humanitarian grounds. 

An elderly Israel woman released last week told media the next day that after being beaten during the abduction, she was treated gently by her captors during two weeks held hostage in Hamas' underground warren of tunnels in Gaza.

Hamas had released a couple videos previously showing hostages, but the clip posted online Monday was the first time one of the captives was seen or heard delivering a statement.

Hamas, long designated a terror organization by the U.S., Israel and most European nations, has claimed — without offering any evidence — that more than 50 of the hostages have been killed by Israel's relentless bombardment of the Gaza Strip over the last three weeks.

Israeli soldier "released during IDF ground operations"

Netanyahu has said that freeing the hostages held by Hamas is one of the priorities for his government as it wages its war with the militant group, and on Monday, the Israeli military announced its first success to that end.

A photo released by the Israeli government on Oct. 30, 2023, shows Israeli Army Pvt. Ori Megidish (center) with family members after she was "released during IDF ground operations" in Gaza, according to officials. Israeli military handout

In a statement, the IDF said a female soldier, Private Ori Megidish, "was released during IDF ground operations" in Gaza after being "kidnapped by the Hamas terrorist organization on October 7th."

The statement said Megidish had been given a medical evaluation and was "doing well, and has met with her family," and it released a photo of her with her family members.

EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous reference in this article that said Aloni had spoken of a "mistake" made on Oct. 2 has been corrected to reflect that she referred to Oct. 7, the date of the Hamas terror attack.   

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