Footage Allegedly Shows Israeli-Russian Scholar Abducted in Iraq

The Iraqi TV channel and social media close to Iraqi militia groups shared a video of kidnapped Israeli-Russian academic Elizabeth Tsurkov. The authenticity of the video has not been verified by Reuters, but if confirmed, it would be the first images of Tsurkov since her abduction over seven months ago. The video shows Tsurkov speaking in Hebrew and making references to the Israel-Gaza war. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office previously stated that Tsurkov was being held by Iran-backed Iraqi Shiite militia Kataeb Hezbollah, and that Iraq was responsible for her safety. Princeton University confirmed that Tsurkov was enrolled at the university at the time of her kidnapping, conducting research related to her approved Ph.D. dissertation topic in Iraq. There has been no response from Kataeb Hezbollah or the Iraqi government regarding the video. Iraq had announced an investigation into Tsurkov’s kidnapping in July, and the Prime Minister stated in September that the government had not identified the responsible parties. The incident has raised concerns about Iraq’s stability and the capability of its security agencies.