We have enough Israeli hostages to force Israel to release all the Palestinians there, said Saleh al-Arouri, deputy head of Hamas. Hamas militants kidnapped an unknown number of people in Saturday’s attack on Israel, including both civilians and soldiers.
It is not known exactly how many people were taken hostage. Hamas deputy chief Saleh al-Arouri spoke to Al Jazeera about a “large number.” He said senior Israeli officials were among those kidnapped and said the number of hostages was large enough to force Israel to release all Palestinians there.
According to previous findings, Hamas terrorists were supposed to be holding about 50 people in one of the canteens at Kibbutz Beeri in the south of the country. Some of the hostages were also said to have been imprisoned in a private house in the city of Ofakim.
The Palestinian armed group joined Hamas Islamic Jihadwhich in turn reported taking several Israeli soldiers hostage.
Video footage shared by CNN shows Israelis being led into captivity in the Gaza Strip. There are soldiers among them. In one of the videos, apparently recorded in Shejaiya, Gaza, a barefoot woman is dragged out of the trunk of a Jeep by a terrorist and then pushed into the backseat of the car. Her face is bleeding and her hands are tied behind her back. The jeep has Israeli Defense Forces license plates, suggesting it was stolen from the military.
Another video, showing Hamas fighters taking many people prisoner, was recorded – according to CNN – in Kibbutz Beeri. Three more videos show Israeli soldiers in the hands of Hamas fighters: in two of them the soldiers are lying motionless on the ground, in the third the terrorists are kicking a lying soldier. Reporters were unable to determine where and when these videos were recorded.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA – Yahya Arhab