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Gaza hostage video released by armed wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad

The armed wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza has released a hostage video of an elderly woman and a young boy and said it is willing to release them if certain conditions are met.

The Islamist group joined Hamas in abducting some of the estimated 240 people during the attack on southern Israel on 7 October, and bringing them back to Gaza.

Most are believed to be in the hands of Hamas, but Islamic Jihad, a smaller militant group in Gaza that is allied to the territory’s ruling movement, has said previously it held at least 30 captives.

Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), said it was prepared to release a woman and a boy for humanitarian and medical reasons once appropriate conditions were met. It did not give further details.

While the majority of hostages were taken by Hamas, the PIJ has said previously it holds at least 30 captives.

The two people in the video were identified as Hanna Katzir, 77, and Yagil Yaakov, 13, from Kibbutz Nir Oz.

In the video, the woman, who is seated in a wheelchair, says: “I am Hanna Katzir, from Kibbutz Nir Oz. I am currently here in a place that isn’t mine, I miss my home my children, my husband, Rami, and all my dear family. I am sending regards, telling you I love you. I hope I will succeed in seeing you next week. I hope everyone is healthy.”

The pair both blame the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, for the 7 October massacre, and claim their captors are treating them well. It is unclear if they are reading from a script.

Israel declined to comment on whether the two hostages would be released, saying this would play into their captors’ “psychological warfare”.

Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, chief Israeli military spokesperson, said: “This is a sign of life, and it is important. I will, for the moment, ignore the question of their release … We will be the first to update the families before anything happens.” 

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