Hamas says seven captives killed in Israeli bombing of Gaza



In the wake of Israel’s intensive bombardment of the Gaza Strip, Hamas’s military arm, the Qassam Brigades, disclosed on Friday that seven more captives held in the besieged enclave have lost their lives. Abu Obeida, the spokesperson for the Qassam Brigades, conveyed this information through the Telegram app, stating that the group had verified the casualties after conducting investigations due to a loss of contact with the fighters holding the captives. These developments follow the group’s capture of approximately 250 Israelis and foreigners during attacks on southern Israel on October 7, with around 130 individuals still believed to be held captive. The Qassam Brigades reported that three of the captives mentioned in Friday’s statement had been identified, but did not specify when the seven had died, bringing the total number of captives killed by Israeli military operations to a potential excess of 70.

Some of the security and military experts suggest that the deaths of the captives may indicate that hostages are considered a “secondary priority.” for Israel. They suggest that Israel’s primary focus is dismantling the armed wing of Hamas and other Palestinian factions, even at the cost of captive lives.

The ongoing conflict’s toll is further highlighted by the Gaza Ministry of Health, reporting at least 30,228 Palestinian casualties. Current efforts for a ceasefire involve Egyptian, Qatari, and United States mediators. In telephone discussions, leaders from these countries outlined the potential terms of a ceasefire deal, emphasising that the release of hostages would lead to an immediate and sustained ceasefire in Gaza for at least six weeks. However, Israel, as reported by its Walla news site, has conveyed to Egypt and Qatar that it will not engage in ceasefire negotiations until Hamas provides a list of Israeli captives still alive in the Gaza Strip. Additionally, Israel seeks a “serious answer” from Hamas regarding the number of Palestinian prisoners to be released as part of a potential agreement.