Home News What you need to know about the hostages still in Gaza

What you need to know about the hostages still in Gaza

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Israelis breathed a brief sigh of relief Saturday after the military announced it had rescued four hostages who had been held in Gaza for eight months following an Oct. 7 Hamas-led assault.

Four hostages who were taken at the Nova music festival on October 7 were rescued early Saturday in the central Gaza town of Nusserat in an operation that left dozens of Palestinians dead, including women and children. News of the rescue has renewed questions about the fate of those still held captive and about the proposed ceasefire.

How many hostages are still being held in Gaza?

About 120 prisoners remain in Gaza, of whom the Israeli military has confirmed at least 30 have died.

Earlier this month, the Israeli military notified the families of four hostages that they were dead and their bodies were being held by Hamas. In May, the military recovered the bodies of nine hostages and notified the families of two captured Thai citizens whose bodies were still being held in Gaza.

Will Israel launch more rescue operations?

Israeli defense officials say dozens of proposed rescue missions have not been carried out due to concerns that hostages or soldiers would be killed in the process.

The Israeli army has managed to rescue only seven hostages in three military operations. In December last year, Israeli troops accidentally shot and killed three hostages trying to escape in the Gaza Strip.

How did Hamas react to this action?

In a statement on social media, Abu Obaida, a military spokesman for the Qassam Brigades, accused Israel of committing “complex war crimes” and suggested that the rescue operation endangered the remaining hostages and would “negatively affect their situation and lives.”

What do the hostages’ families say?

The Hostage and Missing Families Forum, which represents the families of the captives, held a rally in Tel Aviv on Saturday, as it has throughout the war. The rally drew thousands to celebrate the rescue. But the group stressed that all captives remaining in Gaza must be brought home as soon as possible.

In a statement, the group named the freed hostages and urged Israel and Hamas to accept a proposed ceasefire to allow the remaining hostages to return home. “The joyous news that Shlomi, Noah, Almog and Andre have returned to their families through military operations reminds us that for 36 weeks, a total of 120 hostages have been waiting to return home,” the statement said, urging Israel and Hamas to accept a proposed ceasefire to allow the remaining hostages to return home.

How is the proposed ceasefire going?

President Biden in late May Outline a roadmap The three-phase plan begins with an immediate temporary ceasefire, followed by efforts to permanently end the war and rebuild Gaza.

In the first phase, the two sides will cease fire for six weeks, Israel will withdraw its troops from Gaza’s main population centers and release some hostages, including women, the elderly and the wounded.

Israel and Hamas will continue negotiations to reach a permanent ceasefire, which, if successful, would move to a second phase, with a full withdrawal of Israeli troops from the region.

All hostages and more Palestinian prisoners will be released. In the third phase, Hamas will return the bodies of deceased hostages, and Gaza will begin a reconstruction period with the support of the United States, European countries and international institutions.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing competing pressure from the United States and other allies to end the war. Two far-right partners in the ruling coalition They have threatened to overthrow the Israeli government if Israel agrees to a deal that ends the war without eliminating Hamas.

Hamas previously said it had responded “positively” to the plan but had told mediators that the group would not approve a deal that did not provide for a permanent ceasefire, a full withdrawal of Israeli troops and a hostage exchange for Palestinian prisoners.

It is unclear what impact the latest hostage rescue operation will have on the deal talks.

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