Hamas releases propaganda video showing 3 elderly Israeli hostages

Chaim Peri, 79, Amiram Cooper, 84, and Yoram Metzger, 80, seen in clip; Metzger’s son says father appears to have lost a lot of weight; IDF pans film as ‘atrocious terror’

Screen capture from undated propaganda video released by the Hamas terror group on December 18, 2023 shows (L-R) Amiram Cooper, Chaim Peri, and Yoram Metzger, three Israelis held hostage since October 7 in the Gaza Strip. (X. Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Screen capture from undated propaganda video released by the Hamas terror group on December 18, 2023 shows (L-R) Amiram Cooper, Chaim Peri, and Yoram Metzger, three Israelis held hostage since October 7 in the Gaza Strip. (X. Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

The Hamas terror group published a propaganda video Monday showing three elderly Israeli hostages who were abducted during its devastating October 7 assault on Israel.

One man speaking in the video identifies himself as 79-year-old Chaim Peri, who was abducted by Hamas from his Kibbutz Nir Oz home.

The other two hostages are fellow Nir Oz residents Amiram Cooper, 84, and Yoram Metzger, 80.

Only Peri speaks in the video and there is no information indicating when it was filmed, though the men’s appearance indicates it was after some time in captivity.

Hamas has previously issued similar videos of hostages it is holding, in what Israel says is deplorable psychological warfare. Most Israeli media does not carry the video clips themselves.

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari swiftly labeled the latest video as “atrocious terror.”

“It shows the cruelty of Hamas against elderly civilians, innocents, who require medical attention,” Hagari said at an evening press conference. “The world must work to allow medical aid and to verify their condition.”

Combination photo of (L-R) Amiram Cooper, Chaim Peri, and Yoram Metzger, three Israelis held hostage by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. (Courtesy)

“Our hearts are with the hostages and their families at every moment,” Hagari continued. “Haim, Yoram, and Amiram, I hope you can hear me this evening. You should know that we are doing everything to return you home safely. We will not rest until you return.”

Yoram Metzger’s son, Roni, told Hebrew media outlets that his father, a diabetic who has mobility issues, appeared to have lost a lot of weight and looked “years older.”

“Father is not in a good condition,” the younger Metzger told Kan news. “Everything must be done to bring [the hostages] home.”

Speaking to the Ynet outlet, Metzger said that Cooper and Peri also “don’t look in good condition, not themselves. You don’t see a shred of liveliness on their faces.”

Hebrew media outlets cited unnamed Israeli officials as assessing Hamas released the video to pressure the government into agreeing to another hostage release deal.

Last month, over a hundred Israelis and other nationals were released from captivity during a week-long truce that ended when Hamas violated the terms by not releasing female hostages, as it had agreed to, according to Israeli officials.

The new video came at a time of reported high-level efforts to hammer out another hostage release agreement, which is said to put a focus on elderly captives.

Mossad chief David Barnea met with CIA director Bill Burns and Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Warsaw on Monday to discuss efforts to reach a new hostage deal, according to multiple reports in the Hebrew press. A US official also confirmed the meeting to the Associated Press.

Barnea was previously widely reported to have met with Al Thani in Norway on Friday night.

Relatives of the hostages in Gaza march from a solidarity rally to the Begin Gate of the Kirya army base in Tel Aviv, Israel on December 16, 2023. (Courtesy of the Hostages and Missing Families Forum)

Qatar was a key mediator in the first hostage deal that saw 105 civilians released from Hamas captivity in Gaza over seven days in late November. The released hostages were 81 Israelis, 23 Thai nationals, and one Filipino.

The Thai and Filipino workers and one Russian-Israeli man were released through separate agreements with those countries.

In return, Israel agreed to the release of Palestinian prisoners, all women and teenage offenders, in a 3-to-1 ratio, meaning that in total, 240 Palestinian women and underage security prisoners were freed for 80 Israeli women and children.

Israel charges that Hamas violated that deal by refusing to release at least 10 more female hostages, and two remaining children — the youngest hostages.

It is believed that 129 hostages remain in Gaza — not all of them alive. Four hostages were released before the first truce, and one was rescued by troops.

The bodies of eight hostages have also been recovered and the bodies of three hostages who were mistakenly killed by the military on Friday have been returned to Israel. The Israel Defense Forces has confirmed the deaths of 21 of those still held by Hamas, citing new intelligence and findings obtained by troops operating in Gaza.

Following the deaths of the three hostages at the hands of IDF troops in Gaza last week, several reports on Saturday night indicated that Israel was looking to boost efforts to reach a new hostage deal with Hamas. The deaths also fueled calls in Israel for the government to reach a deal and hundreds rallied in Tel Aviv demanding negotiation of an agreement to release all the remaining hostages.

Citing Egyptian officials, Kan reported on Saturday evening that Egyptian and Qatari officials had offered a new deal to Hamas in recent days that would see the release of elderly and sick men and the remaining women and children in exchange for the release of senior Palestinian prisoners.

It was not clear whether the offer was made after consultations with Israel. Kan said Hamas had so far not responded to the proposal.

Israelis put up posters of the hostages by terrorists in Gaza, at ‘Hostages Square’ in Tel Aviv, December 6, 2023. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza was triggered by the Hamas terror onslaught on October 7, when thousands of Hamas-led terrorists poured into Israel from the land, air and sea, launching the deadliest attack in Israel’s history.

The terrorists rampaged across more than 20 communities in southern Israel, killing more than 1,200 people, most of them civilians massacred in their homes and at a music festival, and seizing some 240 hostages.

Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.

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