Families of Israeli captives show video of female soldiers taken by Hamas

The video released by Israeli families shows several of the young soldiers bloody and wounded near the Gaza fence on October 7.

In this image taken from video provided by the Hostage Families Forum, an Israeli female soldier, from the Nahal Oz military base
Seven female Israeli soldiers were taken captive from Nahal Oz on October 7, according to the Hostages and Missing Families Forum [Hostages and Missing Families Forum via AP]

The families of five female Israeli soldiers believed to be alive and held by Hamas in Gaza have released video footage showing them being captured on October 7.

The Israeli army had the body cam footage, only recently declassifying and turning it over to the women’s families – the reason behind the declassification is not clear.

It is not clear if any parts of it had already been redacted by the Israeli army.

The Hostages and Missing Families Forum said the families made the footage public to try to pressure the government into reaching a ceasefire deal with Hamas that would free their loved ones.

In a statement, Hamas said the video was “a manipulated excerpt” that “cannot be verified” and that its release at this time is “part of the occupation’s efforts to distort the image of the resistance”.

The group also said there was “obvious cutting and selection of images that would support the occupation’s claims … that the female conscripts had been assaulted”.

The injuries on the soldiers, the statement said, were minor and “to be expected in such situations”.

Chaos and confusion

The footage shows scenes of chaos with the young female soldiers confused and frightened.

Two women who did not speak Arabic could be seen asking if anyone spoke English, their hands bound behind their backs.

The footage was from the attack on the Nahal Oz military base, part of the Hamas-led assault on southern Israel that killed 1,139 people and took some 250 others captives.

Seven female soldiers, who worked as lookouts on the border with Gaza, were taken from Nahal Oz, the Forum said.

The army rescued one of the women at the end of October in a ground operation and said a second was killed amid Israel’s war on Gaza.

“Every new testimony about what happened to the hostages echoes the same tragic truth – we must bring them all back home, now,” the Forum said in a statement.

“The Israeli government must not waste another moment.”

The footage released on Wednesday is roughly three minutes long and has been edited, with some images blurred to censor what the Forum said is especially sensitive material.

In the video, a group of more than a dozen armed fighters are seen binding the women, two of whom had visible bloodstains on their faces.

The video was released amid growing domestic pressure on the Israeli government to secure the release of the remaining captives.

Thousands of Israelis, including relatives and other loved ones of those still held in Gaza, have taken to the streets in recent days to demand that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu do more to free them.

Many have also called on Israel to agree to a ceasefire to bring their relatives home safely.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies