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Home ยป Israel Gaza: Hamas Releases Video Showing Three Elderly Hostages

Israel Gaza: Hamas Releases Video Showing Three Elderly Hostages

Image source, Telegram

Image caption, From left to right: Amiram Cooper, Yoram Metzger and Chaim Peri, who are all currently being held hostage in Gaza

The armed wing of Hamas, the al-Qassam Brigades, has released a video of three elderly men being held hostage in Gaza.

The video, shared on the Telegram messaging app, shows hostages Chaim Peri, 79, Yoram Metzger, 80, and Amiram Cooper, 85.

Mr Peri can be seen addressing the camera and calling for their release.

About 120 hostages are believed to still be in captivity in Gaza, held by Hamas and allied Palestinian groups.

Prisoners of war and hostages are protected under international humanitarian law and so the BBC does not broadcast the full details of material which may have been filmed under duress.

An estimated 240 hostages were taken to Gaza during Hamas’s 7 October attacks that killed around 1,200 in southern Israel.

Israel has launched a massive retaliatory operation it says is aimed at destroying Hamas. More than 18,000 people have been killed in Gaza since, according to the Hamas-run health ministry, with hundreds of thousands displaced.

During a six-day ceasefire at the end of November, 105 hostages were released in exchange for Palestinians held in Israeli jails.

On Friday, three Israeli hostages mistakenly killed by Israeli soldiers in Gaza were shot dead while holding a white cloth, an Israeli military official said.

The hostages – Yotam Haim, 28, Samer Talalka, 22, and Alon Shamriz, 26 – were killed in the Shejaiya neighbourhood of Gaza City.

According to an Israeli military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the men emerged shirtless from a building, with one carrying a stick with a white cloth.

One of the soldiers, the official added, felt threatened, as the men were at a distance of tens of metres, declared them “terrorists” and opened fire. Two were immediately killed while the third, wounded, returned to the building.

A cry for help was heard in Hebrew and the battalion commander ordered the troops to cease fire. The wounded hostage later re-emerged, and was shot and killed, the official said.

It is not clear if the hostages had been abandoned by their captors or escaped.

An IDF official said the case was “against our rules of engagement” and an investigation was happening at the “highest level”.

Families of the remaining hostages have urged the Israeli government to reach a new truce for at least some of the captives to be freed.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has deflected the calls, insisting “military pressure is necessary both for the return of the hostages and for victory”.