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'Propaganda': Hamas releases first hostage video of 21-year-old abducted from music festival

A man holds the image of French-Israeli woman Mia Shem, held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, before being attached to a window prior to her mother's arrival to give a press in Tel Aviv on October 17, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. The mother of French-Israeli woman Mia Shem, held hostage by Hamas in Gaza, urged world leaders on October 17, to free her daughter after the Islamists aired a video showing her in captivity. The Israeli military on October 16, raised the figure to 199 people confirmed to have been abducted by Hamas to the Gaza Strip in the militants' cross-border attacks on October 7 which sparked a devastating war.
A man holds the image of French-Israeli woman Mia Shem, held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, before being attached to a window prior to her mother's arrival to give a press in Tel Aviv on October 17, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. The mother of French-Israeli woman Mia Shem, held hostage by Hamas in Gaza, urged world leaders on October 17, to free her daughter after the Islamists aired a video showing her in captivity. The Israeli military on October 16, raised the figure to 199 people confirmed to have been abducted by Hamas to the Gaza Strip in the militants' cross-border attacks on October 7 which sparked a devastating war. | GIL COHEN MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images

Hamas released its first video showing one of at least 199 individuals the terrorist group took hostage after launching a surprise attack against Israeli communities near the Gaza border, resulting in thousands of deaths and injuries. Biden administration official John Kirby said the video is "propaganda" in an attempt to show humane treatment to civilians they've harmed. 

Mia Schem, 21, is seen lying down in a 60-second video clip first posted on Telegram while an unseen individual wraps a bandage around her arm. In the video, the young woman said that she suffered an arm injury at a music festival on Oct. 7 before she was taken to Gaza, where she underwent a three-hour operation for her injury. 

“I just ask that I am returned as fast as possible to my family, to my parents, and to my siblings,” Schem said in the clip. “Please get us out of here as quickly as possible.”

The music festival Schem referenced was the Nova Festival, an all-night rave held in Re'im near the Gaza border while Orthodox Jews were observing the Jewish holiday Sukkot. Schem disappeared from the festival after Hamas terrorists descended from the air on paragliders, murdering 260 civilians and abducting numerous others. 

On Tuesday, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Hamas is using Schem for “propaganda.” 

“There’s no question in my mind that that woman gave that video testimony under duress, probably forced to do it,” Kirby told NBC's TODAY. “It’s a propaganda video much more than it is proof of life or, certainly, proof of concept for Hamas. It’s despicable, deplorable that they would take these hostages and then advertise how well they’re treating them when they’re the ones who hurt them in the first place.”

On Monday, the Israel Defense Forces shared in an X post that officials have remained in contact with Schem’s family since the young woman's abduction. The IDF said Hamas published video footage of Schem to make themselves appear “humane.” 

“However, they are a horrific terrorist organization responsible for the murder and abduction of babies, children, men, women and the elderly,” the IDF stated. “At this time, we are deploying all intelligence and operational measures for the return of all hostages—including Mia.” 

As The New York Times reported Monday, an anonymous friend of the Schem family confirmed the identity of the young woman seen in the video clip. The outlet also analyzed the video file’s metadata, deducing that some of the footage was filmed at least six days ago. 

Last week, the hostage victim’s mother, Keren Schem, said she last spoke with her daughter on Oct. 6, when the 21-year-old called to say she was attending a party down south, according to the Times. After news of the attack broke, the mother tried in vain to reach her daughter by phone. 

“I couldn’t stop calling,” Keren Schem said. “I kept telling myself, it’s OK it was a party with thousands of people. What are the chances my daughter was hurt? I was trying to be rational, but I had no idea of the scale of the attack. I couldn’t have guessed it was a massacre.”

One of her daughter’s friends said that Mia sent a text message early in the morning, writing, “They are shooting at us, come save us.” Another person told the mother that they had seen her daughter walking to a nearby kibbutz, while another source claimed to have seen her in a car covered with bullets. 

After joining two WhatsApp groups comprised of people who lost loved ones during the festival, Keren said she received messages from Hamas threatening to harm her daughter. 

According to Palestinian Media Watch, the Palestinian Authority intends to pay nearly $3 million to the families of slain Hamas terrorists who killed Jews through its “Pay-for-Slay” program. The PA defines terrorists killed while attacking Israel as a “Martyr,” according to the group. 

“This means each family of the 1,500 dead Hamas terrorists who invaded Israel will receive 7,400 shekels for this first month,” the watch group reported. “Families of those terrorists who were married and had children will receive even more.”

“The PA will pay at least 11,100,000 shekels ($2,789,430) this month as a reward for participating in last week’s murders and atrocities against Israeli civilians,” the group continued. 

Hamas’ assault against communities near the Gaza border in southern Israel resulted in the deaths of more than 1,400 Israelis and at least 30 Americans. As many as 3,400 people in Israel suffered injuries in the attacks. The terrorist group is also holding as many as 199 people hostage, some of whom are Americans. 

The Health Ministry in Gaza said Tuesday that Israeli airstrikes had killed at least 3,000 people in Gaza, and over 12,500 have been wounded. 

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: samantha.kamman@christianpost.com. Follow her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

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