PIJ airs second video of hostage Sasha Trufanov, with apparent proof of recency

In scripted 3-minute propaganda clip, hostage held by Palestinian terror group since Oct. 7 mentions Israel’s Al Jazeera ban, indicating he was likely alive earlier this month

Screenshot from a Palestinian Islamic Jihad propaganda video showing hostage Sasha Trufanov released on May 30, 2024. (Screenshot)
Screenshot from a Palestinian Islamic Jihad propaganda video showing hostage Sasha Trufanov released on May 30, 2024. (Screenshot)

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group on Thursday released a second propaganda video showing hostage Alexander (Sasha) Trufanov, 30, this time providing apparent proof that the footage was filmed recently.

In the nearly three-minute-long video, Trufanov — in a statement almost certainly dictated by his captors in the Gaza Strip — refers to Israel’s decision to pull the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera news channel off the air on May 5, indicating that the footage was likely filmed within the last month and that he was alive then.

The new video came after the terror group published a nearly 30-second-long video of Trufanov on Tuesday, which did not contain any information indicating when it had been filmed.

Responding to Tuesday’s clip, the Hostages and Missing Families Forum had said that the video should serve as a push for the government to close a deal with Hamas to secure the release of all hostages held by terror groups in Gaza, “the living for rehabilitation and the murdered for burial.”

The Forum did not immediately issue a response to Thursday’s video.

Islamic Jihad and Hamas have both previously issued similar videos of hostages they have been holding in Gaza since October 7, in what Israel has condemned as deplorable psychological warfare. Most Israeli media do not carry the video clips themselves unless asked or given permission to do so by the hostage’s family members.

In the clip released Thursday, Trufanov notably addresses both of his parents as recipients of the message, even though his father, Vitaly Trufanov, was murdered on October 7 in the Hamas onslaught.

Screenshot from a Palestinian Islamic Jihad propaganda video showing hostage Sasha Trufanov released on May 28, 2024. (Screenshot)

The Russian-Israeli was kidnapped on October 7 from Kibbutz Nir Oz along with his mother, Yelena, grandmother, Irena Tati, and girlfriend, Sapir Cohen — all of whom were released in a hostage deal in late November.

Sasha and Sapir had recently moved in together in Ramat Gan, and had been visiting their family in Nir Oz over the Simhat Torah holiday.

Sasha’s parents and grandmother had been in their home, which had a safe room, while Sasha and Sapir had been in another house without a safe room. It was later learned that Vitaly had been taken from the house before the rest of the family.

Freed hostages Yelena Trufanov, right, speaks next to her mother Irena Tati at a rally calling for the release of Israelis held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, in Hostage Square in Tel Aviv, December 2, 2023. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

In the propaganda video released on Thursday, Sasha mentions Israeli hostages allegedly killed by Israeli bombardment in Gaza amid the ongoing war, a pressure tactic that has been used repeatedly in clips published by the terror groups. In many of the cases, Israel says hostages were abducted after being killed by the terrorists on October 7 or by their terrorist captors in Gaza.

The war in Gaza erupted after Hamas’s October 7 massacre, which saw some 3,000 terrorists burst across the border into Israel by land, air and sea, killing some 1,200 people and seizing 252 hostages, mostly civilians, many amid acts of brutality and sexual assault.

It is believed that 121 hostages abducted by Hamas on October 7 remain in Gaza — not all of them alive — after 105 civilians were released from Hamas captivity during a weeklong truce in late November, and four hostages were released prior to that. Three hostages have been rescued by troops alive, and the bodies of 19 hostages have also been recovered, including three mistakenly killed by the military.

The Israel Defense Forces has confirmed the deaths of 37 of those still held by Hamas, citing new intelligence and findings obtained by troops operating in Gaza.

One more person has been listed as missing since October 7, and their fate is still unknown.

Hamas is also believed to have been holding the bodies of fallen IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin since 2014, as well as two Israeli civilians, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, who are both thought to be alive after entering the Strip of their own accord in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

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