Islamic Jihad releases new propaganda clip of Russian-Israeli hostage
Russian-Israeli hostage Sasha Trupanob in a Palestinian Islamic Jihad propaganda video, May 28, 2024. Credit: Screenshot.

Alexander “Sasha” Trufanov’s family did not immediately approve the publication of the video by Israeli media.

By Akiva Van Koningsveld and Amelie Botbol
May 28, 2024

Palestinian Islamic Jihad released a video on Tuesday of 30-year-old Alexander (“Sasha”) Trufanov, who was abducted from his family home during the Hamas terrorist attacks in southern Israel on Oct. 7 and has been held captive in the Gaza Strip for 234 days.

The 25-second recording was made for propaganda purposes. JNS has decided not to publish the propaganda video on its website.

Trufanov’s family did not immediately approve the publication of the video by Israeli media, the Hebrew-language Ynet news outlet reported.

“Citizens of Israel and the protestors: In the coming days, you will hear the truth from me regarding what happened to me and dozens of prisoners in Gaza,” the Israeli-Russian citizen says, apparently being forced by terrorists to address the ongoing anti-government protests.

Trufanov is an engineer employed at Annapurna Labs, an Israeli chip company that was acquired by Amazon in 2015. His friends have tried to get the tech giant to issue a statement about their employee.

During the Hamas-led Oct. 7 massacre, Trufanov was taken hostage from Kibbutz Nir Oz along with his mother, Yelena; his grandmother, Irena Tati; and his girlfriend, Sapir Cohen. His mother and grandmother were freed by Hamas on Nov. 29 at the request of Russian President Vladimir Putin, while Cohen was released as part of a hostages-for-ceasefire deal.

Yelena Trufanov appeared in a propaganda video released by Hamas on Oct. 30, alongside two other women who were released in November. Alexander’s father, Vitaly Trufanov, was murdered in the Hamas terror onslaught on Nir Oz, along with some 40 other residents of the kibbutz.

A total of 125 hostages remain captive in Gaza. On Sunday, it was announced that negotiations for their return would restart in Egypt.

‘Prioritize the fate of the hostages’

Israel’s War Cabinet has approved updated guidelines for its negotiation team, and a delegation led by Mossad head David Barnea returned from Paris Saturday, where they agreed with counterparts to resume talks.

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed back against allegations that he is preventing a deal that would see the return to Israel of the hostages—dead and alive—in exchange for a pause in fighting.

“The repeated false claims that we are the obstacle are not only harmful to the families—that much is obvious, and I sympathize with them,” he said. “But it goes beyond that: It delays the release of the hostages and undermines negotiations. Instead of focusing pressure on [Hamas chief in Gaza Yahya] Sinwar, who holds the hostages in his dungeons, the pressure is misdirected at the Israeli government.”

Netanyahu continued, “Israel is constantly asked to concede concession after concession. So why would Sinwar feel any pressure? He sits in his bunker, rubbing his hands in satisfaction, delighted that others are doing the work for him.”

The prime minister reiterated that he would not give in to unreasonable demands and fight until the end. “Let me be clear: I will not yield or surrender. I will not end the war before achieving all our goals. Our fallen heroes will not have died in vain,” he said.

Surrender means more Oct. 7 attacks, rapes, the failure to return the hostages, and a win for Iran and its proxies, he declared. “I will continue the fight until we raise the flag of victory,” he said.

The Hostages and Missing Families Forum published footage last week of Hamas terrorists abducting female IDF spotters on Oct. 7. The video, taken by terrorists’ body cameras, reveals the violence experienced by five of the seven young women captured from the Nahal Oz base.

Earlier this month, Hamas released footage of British-Israeli hostage Nadav Popplewell. Popplewell, 51, was taken hostage with his mother, Channah Peri, 79, from their home in Kibbutz Nirim on Oct. 7.

In late April, the terror group posted two separate videos showing signs of life from hostages Omri Miran, 46, and dual U.S.-Israeli citizens Keith Siegel, 64, and Hersh Goldberg-Polin, 23.

Jonathan Dekel-Chen, the father of Hamas captive Sagui Dekel-Chen, told JNS on Tuesday that “the government of Israel must prioritize the fate of the hostages, those we hope who are still alive and those who have been murdered, at least as much as the ongoing warfare.”

“There is no victory without the return of the hostages, and the longer the conflict lasts, the less likely it is that the hostages will come home alive,” he continued. 

“It is for our government and our prime minister to stay completely committed not just in words but in deeds to bringing back the hostages and truly empowering in deeds the negotiation team,” he added.

“I don’t know for a fact that negotiations have restarted. Hamas hasn’t even agreed to that,” Dekel-Chen said.

“My reaction has been the same for months. I try not to avoid getting into the emotional roller coaster and the ups and the downs of the negotiation process,” he continued, “all I can say for sure is that the government of Israel must do all that it can to restart and complete the negotiation process to bring all the hostages home.”

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