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Hostage households protest outdoors Netanyahu’s dwelling, ramping up strain for a truce-for-hostages deal

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JERUSALEM — Family of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza protested Saturday outdoors the house of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, expressing frustration over his authorities’s seeming lack of progress in getting the greater than 100 captives launched because the conflict in Gaza drags on.

A bunch representing households of the hostages stated that they had “begged for 105 days” and now demanded that the federal government present management and take daring steps to free the hostages. A member of Israel’s Conflict Cupboard has referred to as a cease-fire the one solution to safe their launch, a remark that implied criticism of Israel’s present technique.

The protest outdoors the prime minister’s dwelling and the comment by former Israeli military chief Gadi Eisenkot had been amongst indicators of rising strife in Israel over the route of the conflict in its fourth month. Netanyahu has stated he’ll push for “full victory” towards Hamas however has not outlined how he would obtain it.

Critics have accused him of stopping a Cupboard-level debate a few post-war state of affairs for Gaza, alleging Netanyahu was stalling in hopes of avoiding battle that might doubtlessly break up his right-wing ruling coalition.

Israel launched its conflict towards Hamas following the militant group’s unprecedented Oct. 7 assault that killed about 1,200 folks, largely civilians, in Israel and noticed about 250 others taken hostage from the nation’s south. Well being authorities in Hamas-ruled Gaza say Israel’s offensive has killed almost 25,000 Palestinians, most of them ladies and kids.

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The offensive, one of the damaging army campaigns in latest historical past, has pulverized a lot of territory and displaced greater than 80% of its inhabitants of two.3 million folks. An Israeli blockade that permits solely a trickle of assist into Gaza has led to widespread starvation and outbreaks of illness, United Nations officers have stated.

Netanyahu has insisted that the one solution to safe the hostages’ return is by crushing Hamas by army means. However kin of the remaining captives have been escalating their marketing campaign searching for a deal for the discharge of their family members.

Greater than 100 hostages, largely ladies and kids, had been launched throughout a short November ceasefire in alternate for the discharge of Palestinian ladies and minors imprisoned by Israel. Israel has stated that greater than 130 hostages stay in Gaza, however solely about 100 are believed to be alive.

On Friday, the daddy of a 28-year-old man who has been held by Hamas since Oct. 7 started what he referred to as a starvation strike outdoors Netanyahu’s dwelling within the coastal city of Caesarea.

Eli Shtivi, who son Idan was among the many folks kidnapped from a music pageant in southern Israel, pledged to eat solely 1 / 4 of a pita a day — to indicate how little meals some hostages had been reportedly given on some days— till the prime minister agreed to fulfill with him. Dozens of individuals joined Shtivi late Friday and had been nonetheless there Saturday morning.

Eisenkot, the previous military chief who is among the 5 members of Israel’s Conflict Cupboard, has referred to as into query Netanyahu’s insistence that solely Israel’s blistering air and floor offensive would deliver the hostages dwelling.

Eisenkot, whose son was killed in December whereas combating in Gaza, stated throughout a tv interview late Thursday that claiming the captives may very well be freed with out a deal and a cease-fire “is to unfold illusions.”

The hostages “will solely return alive if there’s a deal, linked to a major pause in combating,” he stated. Dramatic rescue operations are unlikely as a result of the hostages are apparently unfold out, lots of them in underground tunnels, he stated.

As a part of its seek for the hostages, Israel’s army dropped leaflets on the territory’s southernmost city of Rafah that requested folks to supply details about the captives. The leaflets, with images of dozens of hostages, carried a message suggesting advantages for anybody offering info.

“You need to return dwelling? Please report if you happen to recognized one among them,” learn the message, which additionally listed a telephone quantity and a hyperlink to an internet site containing photos and names of the hostages in Arabic.

In Gaza, residents reached by telephone following the tip of a seven-day communications blackout reported heavy bombardment and combating between militants and Israeli troops Saturday morning in and across the southern metropolis of Khan Younis and the city refugee camp of Jabaliya within the north.

Israeli warplanes and shelling hammered areas in and east of Khan Younis, with gun battles raging in a single day into the early morning in Bani Suheila, a city on town’s outskirts, residents stated. The city is among the hotspots in Israel’s army operations within the Khan Younis space.

Halima Abdel-Rahman, a girl displaced from northern Gaza who has sheltered in Bani Suheila since November, stated Israeli airstrikes hit a number of buildings within the city over the past couple of days and that bombing was intense in a single day into Saturday.

The combating has pressured many households to go away their properties, lots of which had been decreased to rubble, and Bani Suheila is basically empty, she stated.

In Jabaliya, “the heavy bombing returned,” with Israeli warplanes putting buildings and open areas, native fisherman Assad Abu Radwan stated.

Israel withdrew a major variety of troops from the northern half of Gaza earlier this week after the army stated it had damaged up Hamas command buildings there. Nonetheless, Hamas gunmen continued placing up resistance in components of northern Gaza, prompting renewed questions in Israel in regards to the feasibility of the federal government’s acknowledged objective of crushing Hamas.

Within the Israeli-occupied West Financial institution, in the meantime, mourners gathered Saturday for the funeral of a 17-year-old American Palestinian who was shot and killed a day earlier close to town of Ramallah.

The circumstances of the capturing remained unclear Saturday.

In an announcement, Israeli police stated they acquired a report Friday relating to a “firearm discharge, ostensibly involving an off-duty regulation enforcement officer, a soldier and a civilian.” Police didn’t determine who fired the shot however described the capturing as happening over folks “purportedly engaged in rock-throwing actions” alongside a essential freeway.

Police stated the incident was being investigated, together with by its inside affairs division.

The Israeli army didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Associates of {the teenager} recognized him as Tawfiq Ajaq, and stated the household had returned to its dwelling village within the West Financial institution from Harvey, Louisiana, a few yr in the past.

Requested in regards to the capturing, U.S. nationwide safety spokesman John Kirby stated officers on the White Home had been “critically involved about these studies.”

“We don’t have good context about precisely what occurred right here,” Kirby stated. “Critically involved about it. And we’re going to be in fixed contact with counterparts within the area to — to get extra info.”

In latest months, the Biden administration has repeatedly expressed concern about rising volatility within the West Financial institution, together with violence by settlers towards Palestinians.

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Becatoros reported from Athens. Greece. Jon Gambrell in Jerusalem and Najib Jobain in Rafah, Gaza Strip contributed to this report

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Comply with AP’s protection of the Israel-Hamas conflict: https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hama s-war



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