Keith Siegel and Omri Miran: Video shows US and Israeli hostages alive in Gaza

Keith Siegel, 64, is seen in the new footage.

Hamas has published a video showing the first proof of life of two more hostages being held in Gaza.

In undated footage filmed under duress, Omri Miran says he has been held for 202 days and Keith Siegel mentions this week’s Passover holiday, indicating the clips were filmed recently.

Both were captured when Hamas launched its deadly attacks on 7 October.

Responding to the video, their families said they would keep fighting for the men’s return.

They also urged the Israeli government to secure a new hostage release deal.

The new video comes as Hamas said it was studying Israel’s latest proposal for a truce. Media reports said mediator Egypt had sent a delegation to Israel to give fresh impetus to stalled negotiations.

Such a deal that included an agreement to free the remaining hostages could stop Israel’s planned ground assault in the southern city of Rafah, Israel’s foreign minister said on Saturday.

Mr Siegel, a US citizen, was kidnapped with his wife Aviva, though she was freed in November during a brief truce.

In a video statement Keith’s wife Aviva said: “Keith, I love you, we will fight until you return.” Earlier this month, she told the BBC how the couple had at one point been left in a tunnel by their captors as they were moved from place to place. At the time of the interview, she said she did not know if Keith was still alive.

His daughter Ilan said: “Seeing my father today only emphasises to all of us how much we must reach a deal as soon as possible and bring everyone home. I demand that the leaders of this country watch this video and see their father crying out for help.”

His other daughter Shir said: “If you watched the video, you saw that my father knows we are all coming to the rally every week and fighting for him and all the captives.”

Reuters Protest in Tel Aviv calling for early elections and the release of hostages

The protesters on Hostage Square were joined by crowds calling for early elections in Israel

Speaking at the weekly demonstration in Tel Aviv demanding action to release the hostages on Saturday evening, Dani Miran, Omri Miran’s father, led chanting by the crowds.

He was visibly emotional as he delivered a powerful speech, describing his excitement seeing the video of his son, knowing that “he was hopefully alive”.

But his speech also had a political element. He talked directly to the government and specifically by name mentioned its far-right members – National Security Minister, Itamar ben Gvir and Finance Minister, Bezalel Smotrich, calling on them to secure a hostage deal.

He urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “approve any viable deal”.

“Take one small and bloodless step for both peoples,” he said, adding: “All the people of Israel and the nations of the world want to see an end to the bloodshed and especially an end to the suffering of your people.”

What was also notable was that before Omri’s father made his speech, the hostage video was shown in full on big screens around Hostage Square.

This is highly unusual, as such videos are not generally played on TV.

The Hostages Families Forum Headquarters said the latest video was “the clearest evidence that the Israeli government must do everything to approve a deal for the return of all the hostages”.

It follows another proof-of-life video the group released earlier this week, showing Israeli-American hostage Hersh Goldberg-Polin, 23, who is shown without his lower left arm in the short clip. It was blown off during Hamas’s 7 October attack on southern Israel.

In response, his mother and father also appealed for more to be done to secure a new hostage release deal.

The Siegels were kidnapped from Kibbutz Kfar Aza on 7 October when Hamas attacked Israeli communities near Gaza, while Mr Miran was taken captive from Kibbutz Nir Oz.

Speaking under duress in the video released by the armed wing of Hamas, Mr Siegel, 64, and Mr Miran, 46, urged the Israeli government to agree a deal with Hamas for a ceasefire and the release of hostages.

“I have been here in Hamas captivity for 202 days. The situation here is unpleasant, difficult and there are many bombs,” Mr Miran is heard saying.

Indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas to secure their release – along with the other remaining hostages – are continuing, with weeks of talks failing to produce an agreement.

Hamas rejected a previous proposal for a six-week ceasefire in exchange for the release of 40 of the remaining hostages.

The group has previously insisted that any deal should include a permanent end to the war, full Israeli military withdrawal from Gaza and unrestricted return of displaced people to their homes. Israel insists it must destroy Hamas in Gaza and free the hostages.

Israel appears to be moving ahead with plans for an offensive in Rafah, southern Gaza, despite warnings of the potentially catastrophic humanitarian consequences for the 1.5 million displaced Palestinians sheltering there.

“We are making all the preparations for the operation [in Rafah] because that is what needs to be done,” Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on Saturday.

“But I’d hope that there will be a deal.”

The Hamas attacks killed about 1,200 people and the group took some 250 hostages. Israel’s retaliatory campaign in Gaza has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians, the Hamas-run health ministry there says.

A deal agreed in November saw Hamas release 105 hostages – most of them women and children – in return for a week-long ceasefire and some 240 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Some 133 hostages are believed still to be in Gaza of whom about 30 are thought to be dead.

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