Hamas has released the first hostage video of a 21-year-old woman receiving medical care who was attending a desert rave in Kibbutz Re’im.
According to Israeli media, Hamas released a hostage “proof of life” video, which is currently being widely shared online and covered:
The short video shows a young woman, 21-year-old Mia Schem, being treated after she was wounded in her arm, and later speaking to the camera.
Schem was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists on October 7 while taking part in the desert rave in Kibbutz Re’im, where the gunmen also massacred over 260 festival-goers.
She tells the camera she was operated on for three hours and that “I’m being cared for, I’m getting medications. I’m only asking for me to be returned home as soon as possible, to my family, to my parents, to my siblings. Please get me out of here as soon as possible.” Schem’s family reacts to the clip, saying: “We’re happy.”
Hamas releases its first footage of a hostage. The group says it is providing medical treatment to her. Though I think this is a poor attempt to show they are treating the hostages well. The hostage appears to be Israeli. pic.twitter.com/JDATGYenCr— Joe Truzman (@JoeTruzman) October 16, 2023
The Israeli Defense Forces responded to the clip by stating that Hamas “tries to present itself as a humanitarian organization while in fact it is a murderous terror group, responsible for the murders and kidnappings of babies, women, children and the elderly.”
Threats from Iran and its ally Lebanese Hezbollah have led to rising rumors that the IDF hasn’t yet conducted a ground assault. And it’s not just Israel’s opponents who are saying this; according to a Monday article in The Jerusalem Post, the offensive’s main obstacle is the worry that Hezbollah may join the fray.
However, the IDF Northern Command is in charge of ensuring that the defenses along the Lebanese border are fully prepared in case Hezbollah decides to intervene. JPost reports:
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A number of factors seem to have caused a delay, but sources have told The Jerusalem Post that one factor has been a growing concern that Hezbollah is waiting for the moment that most IDF ground forces are committed to Gaza to open a full front with the IDF in the north.
Iran is increasing its threats in the meantime, maybe as part of a plan to support Israeli voices who call for caution and prudence. The foreign minister of Iran has made a statement that reads like “all options are on the table”:
Conferred with my counterparts from 🇹🇳,🇲🇾,🇵🇰. Underlined the need to immediately stop Zionist crimes&murder in Gaza&to dispatch humanitarian aid. I stressed that time is running out for political solutions; probable spread of war in other fronts is approaching unavoidable stage.— H.Amirabdollahian امیرعبداللهیان (@Amirabdolahian) October 16, 2023
Iranian 🇮🇷 FM, Amir Abdullahian, in an interview with Oghov TV:
🔹 The resistance is capable of long-term wars against the enemy.
🔹 Any preemptive action by the resistance nexus or the Islamic Republic of Iran against the Zionist regime is envisaged in the coming hours. pic.twitter.com/dnWW6l3t2p— Arya 🇮🇷 (@AryJeay) October 16, 2023
Israeli politicians have intensified their rhetoric about what they want to do with Gaza:
Israeli ambassador to the UK cites the firebombing of Dresden in 1945 (deliberate aerial incineration of civilian population centers by US and UK) as precedent for what Israel is about to do in Gaza pic.twitter.com/GFXuv5T2Lq— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) October 16, 2023
In a call on Monday, Russian President Putin warned of a catastrophic death toll and PM Netanyahu responded by saying he intended to move forward with the Gaza offensive…
BREAKING: Netanyahu tells Putin in a phone call: Israel won’t stop its Gaza operation until it destroys Hamas’ military and governmental capabilities (1st phone call between them since the war started)— Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) October 16, 2023
Members of Israel’s Knesset were in the middle of an active session when a barrage of missiles from the Gaza Strip forced them into bomb shelters. Jerusalem was filled with the sound of sirens as Hamas rocket assaults continued. Israel’s all-out assault was supposed to start on Friday or Saturday, but it has yet to get going for a variety of reasons, including terrible weather and rain as of Monday.
But because of this, there has been a rush of international diplomacy as the number of casualties rises on both sides. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, more over 3,000 people have died in this round of violence, making the death toll among Palestinians and in the West Bank for 2023 the highest in 20 years. nearly 1,400 Israelis have died, and nearly 4,100 have been injured.
According to reports, US officials have been rushing to stop the fighting and find a way out that would allow the hostages held in Gaza to be released. According to reports, these discussions with Iran have also taken place in secret. According to a Monday statement from Iran’s foreign ministry, Hamas is willing to free the hostages if Israel stops its continuing shelling of the Gaza Strip:
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said Hamas officials “stated that they are ready to take necessary measures to release the citizens and civilians held by resistant groups, but their point was that such measures require preparations that are impossible under daily bombardment by the Zionists against various parts of Gaza,” The Associated Press reported.
However, the Iranian statement still cautioned that Hamas “has no problem continuing to resist.” In the interim, Israel has denied having any intentions for a ceasefire.
Biden is still rumored to be considering a trip to Israel, but Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, is reportedly stepping up his own diplomatic efforts. “Russian President Vladimir Putin entered the fevered diplomatic fray of the Middle East on Monday, speaking to five of the major players including Iran and leading Arab powers in an attempt to secure a ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas,” according to Reuters.
“Russia, which has relationships with Iran, Hamas, major Arab powers as well as with the Palestinians and with Israel, has repeatedly said the United States and the West have ignored the need for an independent Palestinian state within 1967 borders.”
Putin has expressed his condemnation for the rising death toll in Gaza and issued a warning against a “catastrophic death toll” there, which he claims is likely given Israel’s rumored invasion plans.
In order to completely destroy the governing and military capabilities of Hamas and other terrorist organizations, an Israeli military spokesperson has reiterated that forces are preparing to implement a wide range of operational offensive plans, including coordinated combined air, sea, and land strikes. According to Reuters, the spokesman also stated that for their own protection, inhabitants of Gaza should leave and not return until instructed to do so. However, Hamas has been stopping Palestinians from leaving.
Israeli sources stated on Monday that they received information regarding the whereabouts of the hostages abducted on October 7 and that at least 199 people were being kept hostage by Hamas. Unable to be independently verified, Hamas claimed that 22 hostages perished during Israel’s retaliatory bombing of Gaza.
In addition, an Israeli military spokesman claimed that more than 200 Hamas members in the West Bank have been detained since October 7th and that Hezbollah is intensifying the situation on the Lebanon-Lebanon border in an effort to thwart the Gaza counter-offensive. Israel is ready to fight on two fronts, if necessary, and more fronts as well.
According to Reuters, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s national security adviser stated that Israel is not attempting to enter a two-front war and that Hezbollah’s current acts are below the escalation threshold. The adviser also expressed hope that Hezbollah won’t actually bring about the destruction of Lebanon.
The Israel-Hamas war exposed the EU’s irrelevance, which is dwindling due to its economy’s secular decline and incapacity to project military power.
Iran is also becoming more outspoken, with President Raisi telling French President Macron over the phone that “the Zionist regime’s actions are reminiscent of Nazi actions” and asserting that Palestinian resistance groups are free to make their own decisions while pleading with France to stop oppression and injustice, according to Reuters.
While he is certain Israel will operate in accordance with the laws of war, US President Biden stated that sending US troops into the Middle East conflict is not essential and that Israel has one of the best combat forces. He also stated that it would be a mistake for Israel to occupy Gaza. While it was also reported that President Biden is mulling a visit to Israel in the near future, Biden stressed that he believes Hamas must be completely annihilated but insisted that there must be a way to a Palestinian state. He also sent Iran a message saying, “Don’t come across the border and don’t escalate the war.”
According to US National Security Advisor Sullivan, there is a possibility of war escalation but the US does not have new intelligence indicating that the threat on the ground has changed. According to a CBS interview, Sullivan noted that they cannot rule out that Iran will chose to engage directly in some form and that the US is concerned about proxy forces, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and Iran.
On Monday, US Secretary of State Blinken will return to Israel for additional discussions with Israeli authorities.
Iran claims that Hamas is prepared to free hostages but is prevented from doing so by Israeli bombing:
The Wall Street Journal writes that an official from Iran, a major supporter of Hamas, indicated on Monday that Hamas is prepared to release prisoners held in Gaza but is unable to do so because to Israeli bombing. This is possibly the most encouraging development of the day.
Any attempt to release the civilians would “require preparations that are impossible under daily Zionist bombardment against various parts of Gaza,” according to Nasser Kanaani, a spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry.
Maybe some diplomatic progress, not precisely a promise.
Israel’s Military Reports the Death of Hamas Officials:
In a meeting with journalists on the X social media platform, Israeli Defense Forces spokesman Jonathan Conricus stated that a number of Hamas figures, including those in the military and finance sectors, had been murdered.
As Israel searches after its commanders, Conricus claimed that Hamas is attempting to hide behind people. “We’re not attempting to kill innocent people. Hamas and us are at war, he declared.
Anti-tank rockets fired across the border from Lebanon killed one Israeli civilian, he claimed.
Iranian threat levels rise:
According to the Iranian Foreign Minister, “If the Zionist aggressions do not stop, the hands of all parties in the region are on the trigger” and serious losses will befall the US if the Gaza war’s fronts are expanded. Iran’s foreign minister also declared that his country would no longer be an onlooker in this conflict and warned Israel through its friends that if its atrocities in Gaza persisted, “tomorrow will be too late.”
According to a government-affiliated Iranian source, Iran has not yet decided whether to launch a new front against Israel. However, the source did add that a meeting would take place on Sunday night in a Hezbollah command center in Lebanon.
According to Iran’s UN delegation, if Israel’s “war crimes, genocide” are not stopped right away, the situation might have far-reaching repercussions.
Biden is thinking about visiting Israel:
According to two sources familiar with the internal conversations, Biden is thinking about visiting Israel after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited him on the phone.
The people said that no decision had yet been taken regarding whether or not to visit Israel. The National Security Council’s Adrienne Watson said in a statement that the White House has no travel news to share.
Russian military historian and director of the Museum of Air Defense Forces, Yuri Knutov, said that the Hamas attack revealed the Iron Dome’s inefficiency.
In an interview with CBS News’ “60 Minutes,” Biden emphasized his opinion that Israel would adhere to the laws of war and that innocent civilians would have access to food, water, and medical care. He asserted that he did not think Israel should have long-term control over the region and that it should instead be ruled by “a Palestinian authority.”
“I think it’d be a big mistake,” Biden said. “Look, what happened in Gaza, in my view, is Hamas and the extreme elements of Hamas don’t represent all the Palestinian people.”
30 US Citizens reportedly dead:
According to a representative for the State Department, 13 American nationals are still missing and 30 US people have died as a result of the violence.
The government is assisting the Israeli government with captive retrieval attempts while also trying to locate the abducted Americans.
Growing Border Tensions in Egypt:
Egypt is under considerable pressure to open the border to refugees from the neighboring Gaza Strip so they might escape an impending ground assault by Israel. Rafah, the sole civilian land entrance into Gaza that Israel does not control, is crucial to such an action.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Egypt has shown a willingness to permit foreigners to pass through the crossing but has been hesitant to permit a wave of Palestinian refugees to enter due to security concerns.
Eli Marom, a former commander of the Israeli navy, said in a national broadcast that Israel as a whole is asking how Israeli intelligence failed amid the Hamas attack.
However, a deal to open the border crossing has been stalled because Israeli demands that vehicles traveling via Egypt be fully checked and Egyptian fears that Israel hasn’t provided guarantees it will cease airstrikes, according to Egyptian officials.
“Unfortunately, Israel has not yet allowed humanitarian aid to enter Gaza,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told reporters in Cairo. The Israeli prime minister’s office declined to comment.
“We anticipate that the situation at the Rafah crossing will remain fluid and unpredictable and it is unclear whether, or for how long, travelers will be permitted to transit the crossing,” the U.S. Embassy in Egypt said. “There may be very little notice if the crossing opens and it may only open for a limited time.