PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES — Hamas’ armed wing said Thursday that “almost 50” Israeli hostages held in the Gaza Strip since the October 7 attacks have been killed in Israeli bombing raids on the Palestinian territory.
“(Ezzedine) Al-Qassam Brigades estimates that the number of Zionist prisoners who were killed in the Gaza Strip as a result of Zionist strikes and massacres has reached almost 50,” the group said in a statement issued on its Telegram channel.
AFP was not immediately able to verify the claim. Israel launched a massive air and artillery bombardment of Gaza after Hamas carried out the brutal attacks on southern Israel.
Earlier, the Israeli army said 224 people were abducted by militants during the attack that left 1,400 people, mostly civilians, dead.
“We have informed the families of 224 hostages. This number is changing based on the intelligence we obtain,” military spokesman Daniel Hagari told reporters.
“It will continue to change. The effort to return the hostages is a top priority.”
According to Israeli government figures that could not be confirmed by AFP, at least half of the hostages have foreign passports.
On Thursday in Tel Aviv, an organisation representing the families of hostages warned they had reached “the end of their patience” and demanded a meeting with top government officials immediately.
“No more patience, from now on we will fight,” said the group.
“We demand that the cabinet speak to us this evening and tell us how it intends to bring them back today. We are intensifying the struggle, we are no longer waiting to be led, we are leading the struggle,” said Meirav Leshem Gonen — the mother of Romi Gonen who is among the captives.
To date, four women have been released by the militants following mediation by Egypt and Qatar. — AFP