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Hamas releases video of hostages pleading Israeli PM Netanyahu for negotiation

News Agencies | Updated on: 28 April 2024, 22:51 IST
A picture of Hamas hostage Keith Siegel is worn by his wife Aviva at the UN in Geneva

Tel Aviv [Israel]: Amid deadlock on ceasefire negotiations between Hamas and Israel, Hamas on Saturday released a video of two hostages who were seen pleading Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to negotiate for their release, as reported by CNN.

In the video, American-Israeli Keith Siege, seemingly speaking under pressure, urges Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to negotiate with Hamas for a hostage release deal.

This is the first video released of Siegel after he was held hostage by Hamas along with his wife from their residence in Kibbutz Kfar Aza on October 7. On the same day, another Israeli hostage Omri Miran was also abducted by Hamas gunmen after they broke into his home at Nahal Oz Kibbutz. Miran's wife and two daughters, who were also present there, however, survived, CNN reported.

An Egyptian delegation arrived in Israel on Saturday to take forward the negotiations and implement a ceasefire in Gaza, CNN reported citing Egyptian and Israeli officials on Saturday.

The Egyptian delegates are also set to continue discussions with Israeli officials on security coordination around a potential Israeli operation in Rafah, another Israeli official said.

Despite months of talks mediated by Qatar and Egypt, Hamas and Israel have failed to reach an agreement over differences on key demands.  In its report, CNN mentioned that it cannot verify where or when the video was shot, but the hostages said they were unable to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Passover, which ends Tuesday.

"I have been here for 202 days," Miran said, which suggests the video was filmed on Thursday. The Israeli Prime Minister's Office declined to comment, CNN reported.

Siegel's family reacted to the video from Hamas on Saturday. "Keith, I love you, we will fight until you return," his wife Aviva said in a video released by the Hostages Families Forum Headquarters on Saturday.

Aviva was released in November as part of the last hostage deal after 51 days in captivity. "Seeing my father today only emphasizes to all of us how much we must reach a deal as soon as possible and bring everyone home," Siegel's daughter, Ilan, said. "I demand that the leaders of this country watch this video and see (our) father crying out for help," as reported by CNN.

Meanwhile, the hostage forum has asked for the proof of life of Siegel and Miran. "The clearest evidence that the Israeli government must take all necessary measures to finalize a deal for the return of all hostages before Independence Day (May 14). The living should return for rehabilitation, and the murdered should receive a dignified burial," the group said in a statement.


First published: 28 April 2024, 22:51 IST