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Israel-Hamas warfare: Have hostages gone lacking in Gaza? | World Information

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Qatar has claimed that a minimum of 40 girls and kids being held hostage in Gaza should not within the arms of Hamas – and are unaccounted for.

Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani mentioned they could “by no means be capable of attain them” – regardless of their communication strains with Hamas – and that finding the lacking could be key to extending the present ceasefire.

Truce extension ‘close’; follow Israel-Gaza latest

Hamas leaders have beforehand blamed different militant teams for hostages going lacking – saying they took benefit of injury performed to the Israeli border from 7 October to smuggle their very own captives into Gaza.

Israel has mentioned it’s “evaluating” the checklist of hostages nonetheless because of be freed underneath the present ceasefire.

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To date 117 of 150 Palestinian prisoners promised by the Israelis have been freed – in trade for 40 of the 50 hostages agreed to by Hamas.

Who is perhaps holding them?

Though the Qataris say greater than 40 hostages are lacking, one in every of Hamas’s rival militant teams, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, has claimed it’s holding 30 of them.

Hans-Jakob Schindler, senior director on the transatlantic thinktank the Counter Extremism Undertaking, says the state of affairs is “terribly unclear”.

“It is necessary to notice that Islamic Jihad and Hamas do not have a co-operative relationship – they’re truly opponents,” he tells Sky Information. “So it is not solely clear if Hamas can get Islamic Jihad to launch any of the hostages it could be holding.

“And it appears it wasn’t simply them and Hamas concerned within the 7 October assault.

Members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza Metropolis on 4 October

“There’s been a well-developed smuggling financial system in Gaza for many years – lengthy earlier than Hamas took management – organised by networks of crime households.

“So it is doable hostages are neither underneath the management of Hamas nor Islamic Jihad – however these crime organisations.”

Unbiased criminals would have seemed to take their very own hostages within the chaos of seven October for their very own acquire, he provides.

Might Hamas be mendacity?

Qatar’s hyperlinks to Hamas, internet hosting a lot of its leaders in Doha, imply that Sheikh Mohammed’s claims about lacking hostages are prone to have come from the group.

Mr Schindler says he “would not put it previous Hamas to mislead the Qataris” as a method of not directly deceptive Israel.

But when they’re, this can be a technique they should think about “very, very fastidiously”, Professor Michael Clarke, safety and defence analyst, tells Sky Information.

“It is in Hamas’s pursuits to maintain these negotiations going, for 2 causes.

“First, they need Palestinians free of Israeli prisons, however second, to allow them to stall Israel’s second offensive.

“So, on the one hand, they wish to play thoughts video games, however additionally they do not wish to break the association.”

Damage to the Israel-Gaza border
Harm to the Israel-Gaza border

Learn extra:
The 40 Israeli hostages freed so far
Why is Qatar involved in hostage negotiations?
Four-day truce enters final 24 hours

Persevering with the hostage-prisoner trade can also be necessary for Hamas’s legitimacy with the individuals of Gaza, Mr Schindler provides.

“This can be a two-part negotiation. One with Israel after which one internally – to point out the Palestinian neighborhood this was all price it – Gaza destroyed, Palestinians used as human shields.

“They wish to use this hostage state of affairs to their most profit – as a result of earlier than 7 October, 70% of Gazans mentioned they did not like Hamas and I do not assume it is going to get a lot better.”

Air strike damage near the Rafah border with Egypt
Air strike harm close to the Rafah border with Egypt

Might they’ve died?

From late-October, Hamas has claimed that between 50 and 60 hostages have been killed in airstrikes.

Abu Ubaida, spokesperson for the Qassam Brigades, the group’s army wing, mentioned the our bodies of 23 lacking Israeli hostages had been present in rubble.

Professor Clarke claims, nonetheless, that with hostages being seemingly held in tunnels beneath Gaza, they’re safer than most within the territory and are unlikely to have been killed.

He additionally notes that Hamas didn’t establish any hostages supposedly confirmed {dead}.

“It could have been to their benefit to call them as a result of it might improve strain on Benjamin Netanyahu to pause airstrikes on Gaza, because the households may say ‘our kinfolk died from Israeli bombs – please cease them’.”

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