Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned as "cruel psychological propaganda" a video released by Hamas that shows three of the hostages seized by the Islamist movement on October 7.
The video shows three woman - identified by Netanyahu as Yelena Trupanob, Danielle Aloni and Rimon Kirsht - sitting side by side against a bare wall, with Aloni addressing an angry message to the prime minister.
Accusing Netanyahu of failing to protect Israeli citizens during the deadly Hamas attack and failing to get them back home, she called for an agreement to secure their release in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.
"You were supposed to free all of us. You committed to free us all. But instead we are carrying your political, security, military, diplomatic failure," she said.
In a statement, Netanyahu repeated a pledge to make every effort to bring the hostages home.
"Abducted by Hamas, which is committing war crimes, I embrace you. Our hearts are with you and with the other captives. We are doing everything to bring home all the captives and the missing," he said.
The short video is the second hostage message to be issued by Hamas, following an earlier clip of 21 year-old Franco- Israeli woman Mia Schem that was released on October 17.
According to Israeli authorities, at least 239 hostages, both Israeli and foreign, were taken captive by Hamas gunmen during the attack, which killed at least 1400 people.
The presence of the hostages in Gaza has complicated the ground operation in the enclave begun by Israeli forces last week, following an intense campaign of air strikes that Palestinian authorities say has killed more than 8000 people.
Four hostages have been released so far but efforts to secure additional releases through back channel efforts coordinated by Qatar appear to have been put on hold following the start of the ground operation. (Reporting by Maayan Lubell and James Mackenzie; Editing by Jon Boyle)
Australian Associated Press