Naama Weinberg shows a photo of her cousin Itai Svirsky during a Hamas press conference with family members of Israelis on October 26, 2023.
Israel said on Monday that Hamas was carrying out “psychological torture” as the militant group released a third video in 24 hours showing the same three hostages being held in Gaza. The final video appears to show two of the hostages dead.
“Hamas is being hit hard by the IDF and all it can do is inflict psychological torture on families [of the hostages]and leaves it to the IDF to sort things out for the families later,” Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told reporters on Monday.
The first video released on Sunday showed clips of the three hostages – Noa Argamani, Itai Svirsky and another man whose family had requested that his name be withheld – speaking to a camera. It ended with the headline: “Tomorrow we will inform you of their fate.”
A second video released on Monday – apparently an attempt by Hamas to stoke concerns – reiterated the message that the fate of the three hostages would soon be made public.
The third video, released later Monday, appeared to show the bodies of two of the hostages, Itai Svirsky and the other man. Noa Argamani also said both men were killed by Israeli forces.
It is not clear whether Argamani spoke under duress. The video is also heavily edited, with audio effects and the looping of some of her words.
IDF chief spokesman Daniel Hagari addressed the videos in his briefing Monday evening, saying Itai Svirsky was not hit by Israeli forces, as claimed in the third video. He said the IDF did not attack the building where the three were being held, as the video also claimed, but nearby.
“We don’t strike in places where we know there might be hostages,” Hagari said. “In hindsight, we know we hit targets close to where they were being held. We are investigating the incident and its circumstances and are reviewing the images disseminated by Hamas and other information available to us.”
Noa Argamani was kidnapped from the Nova festival with her boyfriend on October 7th.
The army spokesman added that IDF officials met with the families of the three hostages and briefed them on the latest information, adding that the IDF expressed “great concern” about the fate of two of the prisoners.
CNN is not airing the videos and it is not immediately possible to verify when and where they were filmed.
Hamas and other groups took around 240 hostages in the Gaza Strip on October 7. More than 100 Israeli and foreign hostages were released during a week-long ceasefire in late November, with Palestinians held in Israeli prisons released in exchange for the Israelis.
Israel believes there are 132 hostages still in the Gaza Strip, of which around 107 are believed to still be alive.
Argamani, 26, who appeared in two of the videos, was kidnapped from the Nova festival along with her boyfriend Avinatan Or. In a video released by Hamas at the time, Argamani was seen being dragged away on a motorcycle.
Her mother Leora suffers from stage four brain cancer and in a video she recorded late last year she pleads for her daughter's safe return, saying: “Noa, this is what I want to tell you when I don't see you.” please know that I love you very much.”
Svirsky was kidnapped while visiting his family on Kibbutz Be'eri from his home in Tel Aviv. The 38-year-old Israeli-German dual citizen had been at the house of his mother Orit Svirsky, a committed peace activist.
Orit was shot in front of him and it later emerged that, in addition to his three dogs, her ex-husband Rafi – Svirsky's father – was also murdered. Svirsky's 97-year-old maternal grandmother, Aviva Sela, survived the attack, but her Filipino caregiver Grace Cabrera, 45, was killed.
Svirsky has degrees in psychology and economics and recently began working as a life coach, his family told CNN. According to his family, one of the hostages released in November contacted his sister to tell her he was still alive after remembering her phone number. This was the family’s last “proof of life”.
Note: CNN will not name or show images of the third hostage, per the family's request.