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Hamas releases video of injured Israeli-American hostage Hersh Goldberg-Polin

Hamas released a video on Wednesday showing one of its Israeli hostages giving a speech in captivity. In the video, a man identifies himself as Israeli-American Hersh Goldberg-Polin before delivering a lengthy statement clearly written by Hamas, which has long been designated a terrorist organization by the United States and Israel.

The video may, however, give hope to the young man’s family, as the message it conveys includes a reference to his 200 days in captivity – suggesting it was filmed on April 24, or at occasion of this date, exactly 200 days after the launch of the Hamas attack. CBS News cannot verify the date of filming or the content of the video released by Hamas’ Al-Qassam Armed Brigades, but it was posted on the same social media channel the group regularly uses to post propaganda videos , notably others showing hostages.

A U.S. official confirmed to CBS News that the White House received the video on Monday and said the White House has been in contact with the Goldberg-Polin family since its receipt. The family also received a copy of the video directly, the official said.

The official noted that this was the first time Hamas had released a video of a US citizen being held hostage.

“I wasn’t even really listening to what he was saying, I was just hearing his voice,” Rachel Goldberg-Polin, Hersh’s mother, told CBS News in an interview Thursday about the video. “I haven’t heard his voice in six months. He is clearly medically compromised and fragile.”

Goldberg-Polin said the last time she heard from her son was in a text message saying “I love you” while he was being held hostage by Hamas on October 7.

“I don’t know if he hears it, if he feels it or if he knows it, but I order him to survive,” she said. “So many people were very emotional because they really didn’t think he was alive.”

A statement released Wednesday by the Hostage Families Forum, which represents the families of those still detained in Gaza, said Goldberg-Polin’s parents wanted the message he was conveying to be broadcast, and that the group was not releasing questioning the authenticity of the video.

Israeli-American Hamas hostage Hersh Goldberg-Polin appears in a propaganda video released by the Palestinian militant group on April 24, 2024.

“Hersh’s cry is the collective cry of all the hostages: their time is running out. With each passing day, the fear of losing innocent lives grows stronger. We cannot afford to waste any more time; the hostages must be top priority,” the group said in its statement.

There is no clear indication from Hamas that Goldberg-Polin, now 24, is still alive. He was seriously injured when activists ransacked music festival he was near the Gaza border during Hamas’ unprecedented terrorist attack on Israel on October 7.

In the video, Goldberg-Polin shows that his left hand is missing and there are some visible marks on his head and face, but he speaks clearly in Hebrew and otherwise appears thin but healthy. The video includes English subtitles, which CBS News has verified for accuracy.

“Hersh and I are both left-handed,” his mother told CBS News. “Now he’s not left-handed anymore. It was a really overwhelming moment.”


Hersh Goldberg-Polin’s mother on Hamas video showing her son in captivity

The statement he makes, clearly under duress while in Hamas captivity, includes a litany of insults and reprimands against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his failure to reach a release deal. of the remaining hostages.

It is estimated that around 130 people are still detained in Gaza, out of around 240 initially taken hostage by Hamas.

It is unclear how many of the remaining hostages are still alive, but Goldberg-Polin claims in the videotaped statement that Israeli airstrikes on Gaza killed “about 70” of the captives. The U.S. official could not confirm that or other details about what was said under duress in the video, including when it was filmed. Hamas has previously issued false statements about the fate of the hostages, accusing Israel of killing people who were later found alive.

“This is an innocent young man being held hostage by a terrorist organization and he must be released immediately, unconditionally and without delay,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said during a press briefing Wednesday afternoon. He said FBI experts were analyzing the video.

“As soon as we received the video showing Hersh, we gave it to the FBI Hostage Recovery Unit,” Sullivan said. “…I’m not going to preempt this assessment to make judgments about time, you know, recency, etc. I’ll let them make those judgments and then when we have something that we can share publicly in light of all the sensitivities, we will share them with you.


Hamas releases video showing Israeli-American hostage

The video was released as Jews celebrate the Passover holiday.

Rachel Goldberg-Polin had told CBS’ “Face the Nation” Moderator Margaret Brennan said earlier this month that her family was going through “a painful and incredibly indescribable odyssey” as they waited for news of their son. They already knew he lost part of an arm in the Oct. 7 attack on the Supernova music festival and had to put on his own tourniquet, according to witnesses.

A U.S. official confirmed to CBS News on Wednesday that five U.S. nationals are still missing and believed to be hostages living in Gaza, including Goldberg-Polin. Three other Americans who were in Israel when Hamas launched its October 7 attack — Itay Chen, Judith Weinstein And Gad Haggai – are presumed dead, but their bodies have not yet been found.

In the video released Wednesday, Goldberg-Polin says Netanyahu and his fellow Israeli leaders should be “ashamed” for continuing their mission in Gaza while he and his fellow captives are stuck “in an underground hell, without water, food or sunlight “.

Toward the end of the statement, Goldberg-Polin addresses her own family directly, naming her parents, siblings and saying, “I love you. I know you’re doing your best to bring me home as quickly as possible. I want you to stay strong for me.”

Goldberg-Polin’s parents are among the hostages’ relatives who have put enormous pressure on Israeli leaders to negotiate a new ceasefire and hostage release deal with Hamas.

“I don’t know if the cabinet needed a flame lit to get these hostages out,” his father, Jonathan Polin, told CBS News’ Chris Livesay in December. “But if they did, it’s happening today.”

Rachel Goldberg-Polin sent the following message to those negotiating a deal on Thursday.

“It requires loving and caring for your people, more than hating the other,” she said. “Let’s be human. Let’s find him and get it over with.”

—Margaret Brennan and Debora Patta contributed to this report.

News Source : www.cbsnews.com
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