Families of female Israeli hostages release graphic abduction footage to pile pressure on Netanyahu

Families of seven female Israeli soldiers captured by Hamas during the October 7 attacks have released graphic footage of their abduction as they pile pressure on the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to secure their release.

The video shows the women — all Israel Defense Forces (IDF) personnel — lined up against a wall, their hands bound. The faces of some of the women are bruised and bloodied.

The footage was previously released by Hamas, according to the Hostages Families Forum. The campaigning group obtained it from the IDF, which had previously edited the video to exclude the most disturbing scenes.

“Every new testimony about what happened to the hostages echoes the same tragic truth – we must bring them all back home, now,” the Hostage Families Forum said in a press release Wednesday.

The women were kidnapped during a Hamas raid on Israel’s Nahal Oz military base, near the northern Gaza Strip, as part of the militant group’s attacks on Israel that left around 1,200 people dead and saw more than 250 captured and taken hostage in the enclave.

Following the attack, Israel launched a war in Gaza that has killed more than 35,000 Palestinians over the past seven months, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza.

The kidnapped women were working as IDF observers, a role that involves monitoring Israel’s border security.

Video of the ordeal has been made public as pressure mounts on Netanyahu to secure the release of the Israelis still held by Hamas, which his government has made a key goal of the Gaza offensive. Numerous attempts to strike a hostage-for-ceasefire deal with Hamas have faltered in recent months, infuriating those in Israel campaigning for the return of the captives.

“The State of Israel cannot accept a reality where its citizens constantly feel their lives are threatened and suffer from unrelenting fear and anxiety,” the Hostages Families Forum said as it publicized the video on Wednesday.

“With each passing day, it becomes more challenging to bring the hostages back home – the living for rehabilitation and the murdered for proper burial. The Israeli government must not waste another moment; it must return to the negotiating table today!”

Netanyahu said Wednesday he is “horrified by the video showing the abduction of our dear field observers.” He said Israel will “continue doing everything to bring them home” and the “cruelty of Hamas terrorists only enhances my determination to fight forcefully until the destruction of Hamas, to ensure that what we’ve seen this evening will not happen ever again.”

War cabinet minister Benny Gantz said when he first watched the video it made his “stomach turn.” However, Gantz said, “the responsibility of leaders is not only to look reality in the eye – it is to create a different reality even when it comes to difficult decisions. And that is our responsibility.”

‘For the world to see’

One of the women shown in the video, Ori Megidish, was rescued by the IDF in a special operation 23 days after being taken.

Another, Noa Marciano, an IDF Corporal, was killed while in Gaza and her body was returned to Israel in November.

But five of the seven — Liri Albag, Karina Ariev, Agam Berger, Daniela Gilboa, and Naama Levy — remain in captivity, more than seven months after being taken across the border.

The mother of Naama Levy told CNN on Wednesday that bringing them home is not a top priority of the Israeli government, saying some members of the government did not even watch the video.

“Ministers and members of the government were asked to watch a version of this video in their meetings, and some of them refused and said we want to sleep OK at night,” Ayelet Levy Shachar said, adding, “So if this is the reaction when it’s their duty to watch these materials, this is their job, so they can make correct decisions, then we think that we should put it out there for our citizens, for the world to see.”

More than 100 hostages were freed during a release deal in November, but the IDF believes there are still around 130 people being held in Gaza.

Efforts to reach a deal that would pause the war in Gaza and allow the release of hostages have repeatedly been dashed. Earlier this month, Hamas said Israel’s rejection of a ceasefire plan submitted by mediators at negotiations in Cairo had sent hostage release talks back to “square one.”

The statement came a day after the latest round of Gaza truce and hostage deal talks ended in Cairo, without a deal.

For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at CNN.com