Israel has conveyed distressing news to 50 families, revealing that their loved ones are currently being held hostage within the Gaza Strip. In a devastating turn of events, the radical Islamist group Hamas launched an attack on Israel in the early hours of Saturday morning, resulting in the tragic loss of 900 Israeli lives and leaving 2,741 individuals injured, as per the latest tally. In a disconcerting development, a spokesperson for Hamas has issued a threat, warning that if Israel persists with retaliatory strikes in Gaza that inadvertently harm civilians, the group will initiate the killing of these hostages.
Among the victims, a significant number are foreign nationals. Today, Vienna sadly reported the loss of three Austrian citizens who also held Israeli citizenship. Additionally, Paris confirmed the deaths of two more of its citizens, bringing the total to four. Numerous others have been abducted by extremists operating within the Gaza Strip. However, the precise number of those held remains uncertain. Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, informed CNN that Hamas is currently detaining approximately 100 to 150 Israeli hostages.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has declared that the group will not engage in negotiations concerning “prisoners and captives held by the resistance forces” until the conclusion of the military operation. Subsequently, a spokesperson for Hamas issued a chilling ultimatum, threatening to execute an Israeli hostage for each instance in which Israel bombs a civilian Palestinian residence without prior warning.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken conducted another conversation this morning with his Israeli counterpart, Eli Kohen. Blinken reiterated his condolences to Israel and all those affected by the violence instigated by Hamas. He further affirmed that the United States is actively pursuing the immediate release of all hostages.
In the midst of this ongoing conflict with Hamas, the Israeli army has released the names of an additional 38 soldiers who have tragically lost their lives. According to The Times of Israel, among the 900 casualties, 123 are Israeli soldiers. Furthermore, law enforcement has disclosed the identities of four more Israeli policemen who have fallen, bringing the total number of police casualties to 41.