Families of hostages in Hamas video push for deal for their release

Families of hostages in Hamas video push for deal for their release
Families of hostages in Hamas video push for deal for their release

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - A man, identified as Omri Miran, 47, speaks in a video released by Hamas on April 27, 2024, that appeared to show two Israeli hostages who have been held in the Gaza Strip since the October 7 attack on southern Israel, in this screen grab taken from a handout video. — Hamas Military Wing handout pic via Reuters

TEL AVIV, April 30 — Families of two Israeli hostages seen alive in a video released by Hamas called for their release yesterday as hopes rose for a truce deal in the Gaza Strip.

On Saturday, Hamas released footage of Keith Siegel, 64, and Omri Miran, 47, who were abducted by militants during the Hamas attack on southern Israel on October 7.

Their families gathered at Tel Aviv’s Hostage Square yesterday as mediators made a fresh push for a ceasefire deal in Gaza that would facilitate the release of captives.

One-year-old “Alma has known more days without her father than with him, recognising him only through a photo or poster”, said Lishay Lavi-Miran, the wife of Miran, abducted from kibbutz Nahal Oz.

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“No child should be forced to grow up with a distant memory of their father captured in a picture... We are weary of marking milestones with posters and tears”, she said.

Siegel’s wife Aviva, who too had been abducted but later released during the first truce in November, also called for a deal for her husband’s release.

“When I heard about the video of Keith, my body started shaking,” Aviva said at a press conference at Hostage Square.

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“I know how extremely difficult it must have been for Keith filming it because I know how hard and inhuman the conditions are in captivity.

“I fear for Keith’s life and I demand the leaders of the free world to help us bring our people home,” she said.

Both the hostages, clearly speaking under duress, had also pleaded for Israeli authorities to agree to a deal with Hamas to ensure the release of all hostages.

Diplomatic efforts have intensified in recent days for a ceasefire in Gaza and yesterday mediators the United States and Egypt expressed hope that Hamas would accept a proposal being discussed for halting the war.

For months they have been trying to broker a new agreement between Israel and Hamas — the first since a one-week truce in November saw 80 Israeli hostages exchanged for 240 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

Hamas’ attack on October 7 resulted in the deaths of about 1,170 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

In their attack, militants seized some 250 hostages, 129 of whom Israel estimates to remain in Gaza including 34 the military says are dead.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 34,488 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory. — AFP

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