US and Israeli Hostages Alive: New Video Emerges from Gaza


 NEWSLINE PAPER,- A new video from Hamas shows evidence of life for two more captives who are being held in Gaza.

Omri Miran and Keith Siegel may be heard in the freshly discovered film speaking under duress. Miran claims he has been imprisoned for 202 days, while Siegel mentions the Passover holiday, implying the tape was shot not too long ago. Both were abducted on October 7th during Hamas's lethal attacks.

The hostages' relatives declared their will to keep pushing for their loved ones' safe return in reaction to the video's broadcast. They also demanded that a new deal for the release of hostages be pursued by the Israeli government.

The release of this new video falls on the same day that Hamas declared they are examining Israel's most recent truce offering. According to media accounts, Egypt has sent a team to Israel to restart deadlocked talks in its capacity as a mediator.

Israel's foreign minister suggested that a ceasefire agreement that releases the remaining captives would prevent Israel from launching a ground assault on Rafah, a city in southern Gaza.

American citizen Keith Siegel was kidnapped together with his wife Aviva, who was later set free in November during a brief truce. In a video statement, Aviva Siegel declared their steadfast dedication to getting Keith back. She described, not sure of Keith's fate, the terrifying experience of being taken through tunnels by their kidnappers earlier this month.

Omri Miran's father, Dani Miran, gave a moving address during a weekly demonstration in Tel Aviv to mobilize support for the release of the captives, pleading with the Israeli government to find a workable solution. He underlined that everyone wants an end to the suffering and urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to move decisively and support any possible solution.

Noteworthy at the demonstration was the full display of the hostage video, which is unusual because such material is usually not shown on TV.

The captives Families Forum Headquarters stressed the importance of the most recent video and the need for the Israeli government to quickly broker an agreement for the release of all captives. This follows the earlier proof-of-life film that showed Israeli-American hostage Hersh Goldberg-Polin, whose parents also pleaded for more attempts to obtain a fresh hostage release arrangement.

Omri Miran and the Siegels were among those whose predicament started on October 7th when Hamas started attacking Israeli towns close to Gaza. Both Miran, kidnapped from Kibbutz Nir Oz, and Siegel, kidnapped from Kibbutz Kfar Aza, are heard in the Hamas-produced video calling for a ceasefire and the release of the captives.

Israel and Hamas have been in indirect talks to get the hostages released; earlier attempts have not resulted in a deal. A complete agreement including an end to hostilities permanently, Israeli military departure from Gaza, and the unrestricted return of displaced people to their homes is what Hamas has demanded. Israel, however, continues to insist that any agreement has to call for the demolition of Hamas's infrastructure and the release of captives.

Israel is moving ahead with its preparations for a military assault in Rafah, southern Gaza, in spite of the diplomatic initiatives. Israel Katz, the Israeli foreign minister, expressed hope for a peaceful conclusion while stressing the need of the operation.

The war has taken a terrible toll; via its attacks, Hamas has taken over 250 hostages and claimed about 1,200 fatalities. The health ministry operated by Hamas reports that over 34,000 Palestinians have died in Israel's retaliation campaign in Gaza.

The hostage families and worried citizens are waiting for a solution that would end the agony and reunite loved ones ripped apart by war as talks go on and tensions remain high.

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