Parents of Israeli hostage taken by Hamas urge him to 'stay strong' after new video shows him with missing hand

25 April 2024, 06:36

A video of Hersh Goldberg-Polin has been released
A video of Hersh Goldberg-Polin has been released. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

The parents of an Israel-American hostage have urged him to "stay strong" after Hamas released footage of him in a rare "proof of life" video.

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Hersh Goldberg-Polin, 23, who was seriously wounded and seized from the Supernova music festival by the terrorist group on October 7, said in the propaganda video that the Israeli government should step down.

Mr Goldberg-Polin asked: "Do you not want to end this nightmare?”

He said: "At a time when you are having your Passover meals with your families, think of us hostages under the ground, without water, food or sunlight, or the medical attention I’ve needed for so long."

Mr Goldberg-Polin claimed that 70 of the remaining 133 hostages had been killed in Israeli strikes, which is likely a figure given to him by his Hamas captors. Israel has said that 34 hostages have died, without saying how they were killed.

Read more: ‘We won't stop until they're home’: Brother of Israeli hostage twins says he is scared ‘the world will forget about us’

Read more: Body of hostage recovered from Gaza Strip after 'months of torture' as family hit out at 'cowardly' Israeli government

Rachel Goldberg-Polin, mother of Hersh Goldberg-Polin
Rachel Goldberg-Polin, mother of Hersh Goldberg-Polin. Picture: Getty

He also said that he missed his family, and urged them not to stop campaigning "until we all return home in peace".

"I hope to see you soon when all of this is over," he added.

Mr Goldberg-Polin's parents said that they were overwhelmed by the video of their son.

His father Jon Polin said in a statement: "We are relieved to see him alive but we are also concerned about his health and wellbeing as well as that of all the other hostages and all of those suffering in this region.

"We are here today with a plea to all of the leaders of the parties who have been negotiating to date. This includes Qatar, Egypt, the United States, Hamas and Israel: be brave, lean in, seize this moment and get a deal done to reunite all of us with our loved ones and end the suffering in this region.

Jon Goldberg-Polin before the attack
Jon Goldberg-Polin before the attack. Picture: Bring Them Home

"Hersh, we heard your voice today for the first time in 201 days and if you can hear us, we are telling you, we love you, stay strong, survive."

It comes as satellite photos appear to show a new compound of tents being built near Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip as the Israeli military continues to signal it plans an offensive on the city of Rafah.

Khan Younis has been targeted by repeated Israeli military operations over recent weeks.

Israel has said it plans to evacuate civilians from Rafah during an anticipated offensive on the southern city, where hundreds of thousands of people have taken refuge during the war, now in its seventh month.

The military said it was not involved in the tent construction.

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