A video circulated online and broadcast on Iraqi television networks appears to show Elizabeth Tsurkov GS for the first time since she was abducted in Baghdad in March of this year.
It is unclear when and where the video was taken. Tsurkov alludes to the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, suggesting that the video was filmed after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in Israel. Tsurkov is likely to have been speaking under duress.
In the video, Tsurkov speaks Hebrew for more than four minutes, asking her family and friends to work towards her release. She says that the terrorist organization holding her captive, Kataib Hezbollah, told her no efforts have been made for her release. No group has yet claimed responsibility for her detention.
The Daily Princetonian was unable to independently confirm the authenticity of the video.
Tsurkov’s sister, Emma Tsurkov, told the 'Prince' that “It is great news to see this confirmation of her being alive.”
"We will not comment on the substance of what she says because we assume it was coerced, but we do note that she appears as well as can be expected and the video appears to have been shot relatively recently. The release of this video is an important step in the effort to bring her home to her family, where she belongs," Emma Tsurkov continued.
The University declined to comment.
Tsurkov disappeared from Baghdad, Iraq in March 2023. In July, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that she is being held by Shiite militia group Kataib Hezbollah, which the U.S. Department of State classifies as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
Tsurkov, who specializes in the Middle East, including Iraq, Syria, and Israel-Palestine, was conducting research in Iraq, which the University confirmed was “related to her approved Ph.D. dissertation topic.”
Emma Tsurkov has previously said that Elizabeth’s dissertation committee had approved her prospectus, which included plans to conduct field research in Iraq. The committee was chaired by Dean of the School of Public and International Affairs Amaney Jamal.
An early draft of her Ph.D. dissertation included plans to research “the Sadirist movement in Iraq, the PUK in Iraqi Kurdistan, and the Lebanese Forces in Lebanon.”
Bridget O'Neill is an assistant News editor for the ‘Prince.’
Meghana Veldhuis is a News contributor for the ‘Prince.’
Please send corrections to corrections[at]princeton.edu.
Editor's Note: This article has been updated with comment from Emma Tsurkov.