Hamas releases new hostage video, Netanyahu denounces 'cruel propaganda'

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu holds a press conference in Tel Aviv
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JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned as "cruel psychological propaganda" a video released on Monday by Hamas that shows three hostages seized by the Islamist movement on Oct. 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.

Aloni's father, Ramos Aloni, said his heart almost stopped when he saw his daughter in the video, feeling shock but also relief that she was alive.

"Until today we did not know any confirmed information about her," he told reporters who gathered in Tel Aviv.

Aloni is in captivity along with five others from his family, including 3-year-old twin grandchildren, he said.

Avital Kirscht, whose daughter Rimon sat quietly in the video beside Aloni, said they will do everything to bring her home and demanded the hostages receive urgent medical care.

"I don't wish on any mother to have to go through what we are going through for the past 24 days," she said. "I saw the video today and I am worried. Rimon was without eyeglasses. For 24 days she cannot see. She needs glasses."

The short video is the second hostage message issued by Hamas, following an earlier clip of 21-year-old Franco-Israeli woman Mia Schem that was released on Oct. 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 1,400 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 8,000 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.

Israeli forces operating in Gaza also freed a captive soldier, authorities said on Monday.

(Reporting by Maayan Lubell and James Mackenzie; Editing by Jon Boyle and Cynthia Osterman)