Hamas released a video today of an Israeli man, Yarden Bibas, who was kidnapped on Oct. 7 from Kibbutz Niz Or, reacting to an announcement that his wife and children had allegedly died in an Israeli airstrike.
Bibas, 36, was kidnapped along with his wife Shiri, 30, and their two children Ariel, four, and Kfir, nine months.
The family has been held in an unknown location in Gaza.
On Wednesday a statement released by the Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, announced that Shiri, Ariel, and Kfir, had been killed by Israeli bombing in the Gaza Strip. There has not been any independent confirmation of their deaths or the way they may have died.
On Thursday, the Mujahideen Brigades, the military wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a Hamas ally who participated in the Oct. 7 attack, released their own statement about the Bibas family the blamed Israel.
“The enemy government [has] disregarded the safety of its detainees … deliberately bombarding to eliminate the costs associated with the exchange deal,” an English translation of the statement posted to the Resistance News Network Telegram channel claimed.
“The detainees were targeted by Zionist missiles, leading to the killing of the family members … [and] the captor group,” the statement continued. It’s unclear when the deaths may have occurred, as Hamas and Israel have had a ceasefire the past week that’s seen airstrikes in Gaza stop. Both sides have accused the other of violating its terms.
Hamas also released a video of an anguished Yarden, who had apparently just been told about the death of his family members.
“Netanyahu, you bombed and killed my wife and my two children, who were the most important things in my life,” Birbas said, according to an English translation posted in the Resistance News Network Telegram. “Bring them back home so they can be buried in Israel. I beg you to bring me, my wife, and my children back home.”
The video was quickly condemned online, with people saying filming Bibas after telling him his wife and children had died was cruel, and the video was a form of psychological warfare.
“Hamas has released a video of Yarden, the father of the two red head cute toddlers,” wrote Neria Kraus, a journalist for Israel’s Channel 13 news. “They told him that his babies and wife were killed, and filmed him. This is so so so cruel. The entire Bibas family was kidnapped alive. Hamas must free them home alive.”
“Hamas just released a video of Yarden Bibas in captivity weeping over his murdered wife and babies,” wrote @yaelbt. “You can find it online, I won’t post this psychological warfare.”
Article 13 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, related to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, says that captives “must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity.”
“In modern conflicts, the prohibition also covers … the disclosure of photographic and video images, recordings of interrogations or private conversations or personal correspondence or any other private data, irrespective of which public communication channel is used, including the internet,” wrote the Red Cross in a 2020 commentary on Article 13.
But some others questioned whether the news Hamas had shared with Bibas was true, hoping that the videos were misleading and aimed at demoralization.
“There is still no confirmation if they are indeed dead. But this is just utter torturous psychological warfare,” wrote @Ostrov_A in one tweet.
Admiral Daniel Hagari, an IDF spokesman, also released a video claiming that there was no verification for the claims presented in the video.
“Hamas presented documentation of Yarden, the claims about the Bibas family are not verified,” the spokesman said. As of yesterday, the fate of the Bibas family is still unknown.