JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister condemned as “cruel psychological propaganda” a video released by Hamas on Monday showing three of the hostages seized by the Islamist movement on October 7.
The video shows three women – identified by Netanyahu as Yelena Trupanob, Danielle Aloni and Rimon Kirsht – sitting side by side against a bare wall as Aloni addresses an angry message to the prime minister.
She accused Netanyahu of failing to protect Israeli citizens and return them home during the deadly Hamas attack and called for an agreement to secure their release in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.
“They should free us all. They are committed to freeing us all. But instead we bear your political, security, military and diplomatic failures,” she said.
In a statement, Netanyahu reiterated his promise to make every effort to bring the hostages home.
“Kidnapped by Hamas, which commits war crimes, I embrace you. Our hearts go out to you and the other prisoners. We are doing everything we can to bring all prisoners and missing people home,” he said.
The women’s families were scheduled to hold a news conference at 7 p.m. (1700 GMT).
The short video is Hamas’ second hostage message, following an earlier clip from 21-year-old French-Israeli woman Mia Schem, released on October 17.
Israeli authorities said at least 239 Israeli and foreign hostages were captured by Hamas gunmen during the attack, which killed at least 1,400 people.
The hostages’ presence in Gaza has complicated the ground operation in the enclave that Israeli forces began last week after an intense airstrikes campaign that Palestinian authorities said killed more than 8,000 people.
Four hostages have been released so far, but efforts to secure further releases through back-channel efforts coordinated by Qatar appear to have been put on hold after the ground operation began.
(Reporting by Maayan Lubell and James Mackenzie; Editing by Jon Boyle)