Families of women hostages held by Hamas release video of abduction on Oct. 7

JERUSALEM — The families of women soldiers held hostage by Hamas allowed the release Wednesday of a harrowing video showing of the violent abduction during the attack Oct. 7.

The video, three minutes and 10 seconds long, is a short compilation of footage taken from Hamas body cameras. It shows the rounding up of young, female soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces, who were taken in their pajamas, bloodied, and with their hands zip tied.

The video was released with the permission of the families of five of the women held hostage by Hamas in the Gaza Strip as part of an effort to increase pressure on the Israeli government and international community to secure their release.

“The disturbing video has been the reality of Agam [Berger], Daniela [Gilboa], Liri [Albag], Naama [Levy], Karina [Ariev], and 123 other hostages for 229 days,” the Hostage Families Forum, the volunteer organization representing the families of hostages, said in a statement.

“The video is a damning testament to the nation’s failure to bring home the hostages, who have been forsaken for 229 days. There is no greater mission, no more significant achievement, and no chance to restore hope to Israel without the return of all – the living for rehabilitation and the murdered for burial. The Israeli government must not waste even one more moment – it must return to the negotiating table today!”

The women soldiers were serving as observers on an Israeli military base on Kibbutz Nir Oz in southern Israel when Hamas terrorists stormed the community, massacring civilians and soldiers, and taking at least seven of the women hostage.

One woman, Ori Megidish, was rescued by Israeli forces after 23 days in captivity. Another woman, Noa Marciano, was killed by Hamas terrorists while in captivity, and her body was returned for burial in Israel.

The women being held by Hamas are seen as vulnerable to an extraordinary degree, at risk of rape, sexual assault and getting pregnant.

“You are beautiful,” a Hamas member is seen in the video saying to one of the female captives, who turns her head in disgust.

The Hostage Families Forum said it edited the video and censored footage showing dead bodies. But the few minutes of video is at times difficult to watch; it shows young women, their faces covered in blood, surrounded and yelled at by Hamas members who line them up against a concrete wall, while discussing what to do with them.

The Israeli women are seen being loaded into the back of a jeep. One woman, in shorts and barefoot, with blood on her legs, appears to have injured her ankle and is forced to hop on one foot while she’s led away with her hands bound behind her.

“My heart is with my daughter Naama in those horrifying moments in the horrifying day of October 7th,” said Ayelet Levy, mother of 19-year-old Naama Levy, who is in the video.

“That is just that one day. She has been there for 229 days since. We only see in that video a fraction of the horrible things that are going on in their surrounding in the shelter. She is terrified and wounded, there is fear in her eyes, and she is saying what she can, she is begging for her life. The top priority is to bring her home, bring them all home now.”

Hamas is holding approximately 128 hostages. A weeklong cease-fire in November secured the release of more than 120 hostages, but international efforts to implement a larger deal between Israel and Hamas has yet to succeed.

The U.S. has tried to broker, through intermediaries with Hamas, a deal for a six- to eight-week cease-fire that would require the release of hostages, in phases, in exchange for an increase in humanitarian aid to the strip, and the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

The U.S. and Israel have faulted Hamas as failing to agree to the terms of the deal, with Hamas calling for a permanent end to Israel’s war against them and a retreat of Israeli forces from the Strip.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected this and has focused on a punishing military campaign as the best way to increase pressure on Hamas.

Israeli military operations have rescued only a few hostages and have recovered the bodies of people killed in captivity or held since they were murdered by Hamas on Oct. 7.

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