Hamas on Monday night released the first clip showing an Israeli hostage being held by the terror group in the Gaza Strip, as it said some 200-250 captives were in the coastal enclave after Palestinian terrorists’ massive onslaught in southern Israel on October 7.
The short video showed a young woman, 21-year-old Mia Schem, being treated after she was wounded in her arm, and later speaking to the camera.
Schem was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists while participating in the desert rave in Kibbutz Re’im, where the gunmen killed over 260 festival-goers as part of the devastating massacre in which over 1,300 people were slain, the vast majority civilians.
She told the camera that she was operated on for three hours and that “I’m being cared for, I’m getting medications. I’m only asking to be returned home as soon as possible, to my family, to my parents, to my siblings. Please get me out of here as soon as possible.”
Schem’s family reacted to the clip, saying: “We’re happy.”
The New York Times said its analysis of metadata within the video file indicated that some of the footage was filmed at least six days ago.
Schem appears to have been singled out by Hamas since she is a dual Israeli-French citizen, and the terror group seems to want international audiences to think that it is not harming foreign nationals.
The Israel Defense Forces said Schem’s family had been notified last week that she was being held in Gaza.
The army said that in the video, Hamas “tries to present itself as a humanitarian organization, while in fact it is a murderous terror group, responsible for the murders and kidnappings of babies, women, children and the elderly.”
The IDF added that it was continuing to work “with all the intelligence and operational means” to return the more than 200 hostages.
The release of the video came as Hamas military spokesman Abu Obeida said there was no definitive count of the number of prisoners due to “security and practical difficulties,” but said there were 200-250 in Gaza and that 200 of them were in the hands of Hamas.
In a televised statement, he said that about 50 others were held by other “resistance factions and in other places.”
Foreign hostages are “our guests,” Abu Obeida claimed, vowing to protect them and to release them whenever conditions “on the ground” allow for it.
Abu Obeida said the threat of an Israeli ground operation in Gaza “doesn’t scare us and we are ready for it.”
He also named an Israeli hostage allegedly killed in an Israeli bombing in the last few hours.
Khaled Mashaal, a prominent Hamas figure and the former political leader of the group, said in a separate interview that there are 6,000 Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons, boasting that Hamas holds enough hostages — including high-ranking officials of the IDF’s Gaza Division — to free all of them.
He also said that Gazans will not leave the Strip, despite the war, and that their displacement would harm Egyptian national security and would pose a danger for Jordan, implying that a mass exodus of Palestinians to a neighboring country could set a precedent for the West Bank.
He praised Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group for “taking steps” against Israel as it conducts limited attacks along the northern border, but noted that Hamas needs more support.