Keith Siegel and Omri Miron: Video shows US and Israeli hostages alive in Gaza

  • By Anna Foster
  • BBC News, Jerusalem

image source, Hostage Video

image caption, Keith Siegel, 64, is seen in the new footage

Hamas has released a video showing the first evidence that two more hostages are alive in Gaza.

In undated footage filmed under duress, Omri Miron says he spent 202 days in custody and Keith Siegel mentions this week's Passover holiday, indicating the clips were filmed recently.

Both were captured when Hamas carried out its deadliest attacks on October 7.

Reacting to the video, their families said they would continue to fight for the men's return.

They urged the Israeli government to secure a new hostage release agreement.

Mr Siegel, a US citizen, was kidnapped along with his wife Aviva, although he was freed in November after a brief standoff.

Keith's wife Aviva said in a video statement: “Keith, I love you and we will fight until you come back.” Earlier this month, he told the BBC how at one point they were left in a tunnel by their captors as they were moved from place to place. During the interview, Keith said he didn't know if he was still alive.

His daughter Ilan said, “Seeing my father today only emphasizes the need to make a deal soon and bring everyone home. I demand that the leaders of this country see their father crying after watching this video. Help.”

image caption, Protesters in Hostage Square joined a crowd calling for early elections in Israel

Omri Miron's father, Dani Miron, led a crowd chanting slogans at the weekly demonstration in Tel Aviv demanding action to free the hostages on Saturday evening.

She was overcome with emotion as she gave a powerful speech, describing her excitement after seeing a video of her son knowing “he is alive with hope.”

But there was also a political aspect to his speech. He spoke directly to the government and specifically targeted members of its far-right – the Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben Gvir, and the Minister of Finance, Bezalel Smodrich, calling on them to defend the hostage deal.

He urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “recognize any possible agreement”.

“Take a small and bloodless step for both peoples,” he said: “The people of Israel and all the nations of the world want to see an end to the bloodshed and especially the suffering of your people.”

Also of note, before Omri's father spoke, the hostage video was shown in its entirety on large screens around the hostage square.

This is very unusual because these types of videos are not usually played on TV.

video title, WATCH: Aviva Siegel, center, said the family will continue to fight for her husband's safe return

The headquarters of the Hostage Families Forum said the latest video was “clear evidence that the Israeli government must do everything to ratify the agreement to return all hostages.”

It follows another proof-of-life video released by the group earlier this week, which shows Israeli-American hostage Hersh Goldberg-Polin, 23, shown missing his lower left arm in a short clip. It exploded during an October 7 attack by Hamas on southern Israel.

In return, his mother and father pleaded with him to do more to secure a deal to release the new hostages.

When Hamas attacked Israeli communities near Gaza on October 7, seagulls were kidnapped from Kibbutz Kfar Asa, while Mr Meeran was taken captive from Kibbutz Nir Oz.

In a video released by Hamas's armed wing, Mr Siegel, 64, and Mr Meeran, 46, urged the Israeli government to accept a ceasefire deal with Hamas and the release of hostages.

“I have been held captive by Hamas here for 202 days. The situation here is unpleasant, difficult and there are many bombs,” Mr Miran is heard saying.

The new video comes as Hamas says it is examining Israel's latest ceasefire proposal. Media reports suggest that mediator Egypt has sent a delegation to Israel to give fresh impetus to the stalled talks.

Weeks of indirect negotiations failed to produce an agreement. Hamas rejected an earlier proposal for a six-week ceasefire in exchange for the release of 40 of the remaining hostages.

The group has previously insisted that any deal should include a permanent end to the war, the complete withdrawal of the Israeli military from Gaza and the unimpeded return of displaced people to their homes. Israel insists on destroying Hamas in Gaza and freeing hostages.

Despite warnings of catastrophic humanitarian consequences for the 1.5 million displaced Palestinians, Israel appears to be moving ahead with plans to launch an offensive in Rafah, southern Gaza.

About 1,200 people were killed in the Hamas attack and the group took about 250 hostages. Israel's retaliation in Gaza has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians, according to the Hamas-run health ministry there.

In a deal agreed in November, Hamas released 105 hostages — most of them women and children — in exchange for a week-long ceasefire and about 240 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons. There are believed to be 133 hostages still in Gaza, of whom around 30 are thought to be dead.

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