Captors release video of Israeli researcher abducted in Iraq after months in the dark

Video marks first sign of life from Elizabeth Tsurkov, who was kidnapped in March by an Iranian-backed militia; in the footage, she also speaks about the Gaza war, indicating it was recorded recently

Lior Ben Ari, Lihi Gordon|
A video of Elizabeth Tsurkov, an Israeli researcher kidnapped in Iraq earlier this year during a visit, was released Monday night by her captors, marking the first sign of life since her abduction.
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Tsurkov, who also holds Russian citizenship, was visiting Iraq to conduct research for her doctoral dissertation at Princeton University and was reportedly kidnapped by the Iranian-backed militia Katai’b Hezbollah after leaving the Ridha Alwan Cafe in Baghdad's upscale Karrada district.
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אליזבט צורקוב עיתונאים חוקרת ישראלית, נחטפה לפני 7 חודשים על ידי ההתנגדות העיראקית
אליזבט צורקוב עיתונאים חוקרת ישראלית, נחטפה לפני 7 חודשים על ידי ההתנגדות העיראקית
Screenshot from video of Elizabeth Tsurkov released by her captors
Ynet has opted not to feature the four-minute video in Hebrew, which appears to be scripted and includes messages of psychological warfare. In the video, Tsurkov discusses her seven-month-long captivity and urges her named family members to help secure her release. Tsurkov also spoke about the war in Gaza, indicating that the video was recorded recently.
Tsurkov's sister, Emma, told Ynet she was relieved to see her sister was alive."We are relieved to see our Liza alive. We won't comment on the content of her statements, as it's clear she was forced to say them,” Tsurkov said.
"However, she appears to be in good health considering the circumstances, and the video seems to have been filmed not long ago. The release of this video is a significant step in the efforts to bring her back home to her loving family."
Senior Israeli sources have indicated that it might take months or even years before Tsurkov is released. An Iraqi government spokesperson said in July that an investigation is underway, but given the case's complexity and sensitivity, no official statement will be issued until the investigation is concluded and findings are drawn. Since then, no new updates on the matter have been provided.
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