Video purports to show Israeli-Russian academic, kidnapped in Iraq 7 months ago

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A video purporting to show Israeli-Russian academic Elizabeth Tsurkov, who was kidnapped in Iraq in March, was shared by an Iraqi TV channel and social media close to Iraqi militia groups on Monday.

Reuters could not independently verify the authenticity of the video, which if confirmed would be the first images of Tsurkov published since her kidnapping more than seven months ago.

The video shows Tsurkov sitting in a room, talking to the camera in Hebrew. Her comments make reference to the Israel-Gaza war that began last month.

In July, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said that Tsurkov was being held by Iran-backed Iraqi Shiite militia Kataeb Hezbollah and that Iraq was responsible for her safety.

Princeton University has said that Tsurkov was enrolled at the university at the time of her kidnapping and was in Iraq "conducting research related to her approved Ph.D. dissertation topic."

Reuters was not able to reach Kataeb Hezbollah for comment on Monday and an Iraqi government spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Iraq said in July it had opened an investigation into her kidnapping.

In September, Iraq's Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said in an interview with the New York Times that the government had not identified who was responsible.

"The incident damages the reputation of Iraq's stability and the capability of our security agencies," he said in the interview.

(Reporting by Timour Azhari; Editing by Chris Reese and Rosalba O'Brien)