Hamas says two of three hostages shown in latest video are dead

The third hostage, Noa Argamani, was shown in a new clip saying IDF airstrikes had killed Yossi Sharabi and Itai Svirsky, which the army called “a Hamas lie.”

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Hamas announced on Monday that the two men seen in its most recent hostage video had been killed, but blamed Israel for their deaths.

The terror organization kept its word to reveal the fates of Yossi Sharabi, 53, and Itai Svirsky, by having the third person in the video, Noa Argamani, feature in another clip to reveal its version of what happened to them.

Talking as if she was reading from a script, the 26-year-old abducted from the Nova music festival stated that she had been with the two other hostages in a building that was hit in an IDF airstrike.

“Three rockets were fired,” she said. “Two of the rockets exploded, and the other didn’t…. After the building we were in was hit, we were all buried under rubble. [Hamas] Al Qassam soldiers saved my life, and Itai’s. Unfortunately, we were not able to save Yossi’s.”

A few days later, she added, while Svirsky and she were being transported elsewhere, “Itai was hit by an IDF airstrike. He did not survive.”

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“They died because of our own IDF airstrikes,” she concluded. “Stop this madness and bring us home to our families. While we are still alive, bring us home.”

The clip ended by showing the supposed bodies of the two men.

The IDF firmly denied having anything to do with the hostages’ deaths.

“Itai was not shot by our forces, this is a lie of Hamas,” said the army’s chief spokesperson, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari in a press briefing Monday evening. “The building in which they were being held…was not targeted by our forces.”

“We don’t attack a place if we know there may be hostages inside,” he stated, adding, “We are determined to return the hostages. We operate with all means to return them home and avoid hurting them…. This is our moral duty.”

Purposely not mentioning the name of the second dead hostage as per the family’s request, Hagari said that IDF representatives had met “over the past several days” with the families of Svirsky and the other hostage “and voiced concern over their fate, due to information that we hold.”

Most, though not all, of the families of the some 132 hostages that are still being held captive by the terror organization since it kidnapped about 250 people during its October 7, 2023 massacre of 1,200 that sparked the ongoing war, are demanding that the war’s goal of attaining their release should supersede its other goal of destroying Hamas.

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The IDF believes that more than 20 hostages have died or were murdered in captivity already, and have privately notified their families to bring them closure.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant repeated again Monday the government’s position that military pressure is the best way to obtain their freedom, as without the steady dismemberment of its fighting forces and destruction of its armaments, Hamas will not be motivated to give their captives back.

The IDF published on Sunday its updated figures on Hamas losses in the Gaza Strip, which include some 9,000 combatants killed, several thousand wounded, and hundreds arrested after surrendering. This would mean that anywhere between a third and over half its fighting force has been taken out of action, depending on various estimates of its pre-war numbers.