IDF releases Hamas ‘psychological terror’ video of young hostages

As the Israel-Hamas war crosses the seven-month mark, renewed negotiations are underway to secure the release of hostages taken by the terrorist organization, as Israeli forces continue to prepare for an apparent invasion of the southern Gazan town of Rafah.

Latest Developments

May 19, 5:18 PM

IDF releases footage of young Israeli hostages it says were forced to film Hamas video under duress

Israel Defense Forces released Sunday raw video footage it says its troops recovered in Gaza that shows former Israeli hosts 8-year-old Ela Elyakim and her 15-year-old sister Dafna Elyakim being forced by Hamas terrorists to film repeatedly.

PHOTO: Israel Defense Forces released a video on May 19, 2024, showing former Israel hostages, 8-year-old Ela Elyakim and her 15-year-old sister, Dafna Elyakim, being forced by Hamas terrorists to film over and over. (IDF Handout/Hamas Video)

“The video, which is being released today for the first time was intended to be used by Hamas for psychological terror,” Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, an IDF spokesperson, said in a statement. “But Ela’s family asked us to share it with the world to expose Hamas’s terror, to expose Hamas’s cruelty, to expose Hamas’s barbarism.”

Hagari said the raw footage of the girls recording the video was recovered by IDF troops during Israel’s ground operations in Gaza.

The Elyakim sisters were kidnapped on Oct. 7 from their father’s house in Nahal Oz, according to the IDF. Their father was killed in the surprise attack on Israel by Hamas terrorists, according to the IDF.

Ela and Dafana Elyakim were held hostage for 51 days before Hamas released them in a previous hostage deal, the IDF said.

Ela Elyakim told IDF officials that Hamas terrorists forced her to read from a script and made her change clothes multiple times as they refilmed the video over and over, according to Hagari.

“We will continue doing everything in our power to bring our hostages back home,” said Hagari.

-ABC News’ Victoria Beaule

May 18, 11:34 PM

GOP Rep. Stefanik to visit Knesset, denounce Biden over weapons pause

House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik of New York will be giving remarks in the Israeli Knesset on Sunday, according to her office. Stefanik will be the highest-ranking member of the House to visit Israel following the Oct. 7 attack.

Stefanik plans to slam President Joe Biden for recently halting some military aid to Israel, according to excerpts of her speech reviewed by ABC News.

“I have been clear at home, and I will be clear here: There is no excuse for an American president to block aid to Israel,” Stefanik will say during the address.

Biden announced the US would withhold certain bomb deliveries to Israel over fear they could be used in Rafah, but the Biden administration informed Congress it’s moving forward with more than $1 billion in new arms agreements with Israel.

PHOTO: Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., Rep. Elise Stefanik, RN.Y., and Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., call on the Senate to take up the Israel Security Assistance Support Act during a news conference on May 16, 2024, in Washington, DC (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)PHOTO: Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., Rep. Elise Stefanik, RN.Y., and Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., call on the Senate to take up the Israel Security Assistance Support Act during a news conference on May 16, 2024, in Washington, DC (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., Rep. Elise Stefanik, RN.Y., and Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., call on the Senate to take up the Israel Security Assistance Support Act during a news conference on May 16, 2024, in Washington, DC (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The congresswoman will address the rise in antisemitism in the US, House Republicans’ support for Israel and even mention her close ally, former President Donald Trump.

“I have been a leading proponent and partner to President Trump in his historic support for Israeli independence and security,” Stefanik will say.

-ABC News’ Lauren Peller

May 18, 6:14 PM

3 US medical workers remain in Gaza despite warning from US government

Three US medical professionals remain in Gaza despite warnings from the US State Department that the American government may not be able to get them out later.

Tamer Hassan, a registered nurse, Dr. Jomana Al-Hinti and Dr. Adam Hamawy were the only ones out of a group of 20 American medical professionals who stayed behind to help treat patients.

“They understand that the US embassy may not be able to facilitate their departure in the same manner as we have just effected today,” a person with knowledge of the situation told ABC News.

PHOTO: A Palestinian woman receives medical care at the European hospital in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on May 17, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and the militant group Hamas. (AFP via Getty Images)PHOTO: A Palestinian woman receives medical care at the European hospital in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on May 17, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and the militant group Hamas. (AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: A Palestinian woman receives medical care at the European hospital in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on May 17, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and the militant group Hamas. (AFP via Getty Images)

Hamawy released a statement Saturday explaining why he stayed behind.

“We worry that the European Hospital we are currently in will suffer a similar fate of Al-Shifa and Nasser hospitals, where humanitarian workers, patients, and civilians were massacred,” he said.

“To my wife, daughters and son, I know it hurts that I am not coming home this weekend, and I am sorry. But I know that you are proud that I am upholding my oath to never leave anyone behind,” he added.

The doctors who left Gaza “made their way to safety with assistance from the US Embassy in Jerusalem,” a State Department spokesperson said.

-ABC News’ Anne Flaherty, Nadine Shubailat and Zoe Magee

 
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