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Business News/ News / Israel-Gaza war: What is known about the hostages held by Hamas so far
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Israel-Gaza war: What is known about the hostages held by Hamas so far

Those held as hostages reportedly includes Major General Nimrod Aloni, who heads Israeli Defence Forces' ‘Depth Corps’, a unit entrusted with operations against Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah.

A file photo of Palestinian masked militants of Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, a military wing of Hamas. (AP)Premium
A file photo of Palestinian masked militants of Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, a military wing of Hamas. (AP)

Hamas fighters, who stunned the Israeli authorities with their early morning raids on October 7, took into custody several Israeli civilians and soldiers, reports said. Here's a look at what is known about the hostages so far.

The exact number of those in Hamas' custody is not known. The Israeli military says “a significant number" of its people, including civilians and member of the armed forces, are under the militant group's captivity.

Some of the captives are believed to be alive, and few are assumed to be killed, BBC reported military spokesperson Lt Col Jonathan Conricus as saying.

Among those taken into custody include children, women and elderly, the spokesperson claimed, adding that the numbers up until now are “unimaginable", and will shape “the future" of the current round of conflict.

Also Read: What is Hamas and what does it want?

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‘Several times greater’

Hamas has not released the exact count of Israelis held as captives, but stated that the number was “several times greater" than dozens reported by the press. 

Those held hostage have been taken to several locations across the Gaza Strip, the militant group was reported as saying.

Among those held hostage is senior Israeli military officer Major General Nimrod Aloni, The Telegraph reported. He was captured during the raids in southern Israel.

Aloni is key to the bargaining power of Hamas, said analysts, pointing out that he heads the Israeli Defence Forces' ‘Depth Corps’, that is a unit entrusted with operations against Hamas, as well as another Islamist militant outfit Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah.

Catch live updates on Israel-Hamas conflict

Captured from outdoor rave

According to the Israeli media, scores among the captives were picked up by Hamas fighters from an outdoor rave held in the wee hours of October 7 in Kibbutz Re'im.

Kibbutz is an outer suburb of southern Israel's Ofakim city, and is located close to the occupied Gaza Strip. Witnesses who spoke to local news channels claimed that the militants arrived on motorcycles and open fired at the revellers who had gathered to party.

Scores among them were captured and taken on motorcycles by the fighters, the witnesses claimed. An unverified video on social media shows one woman being kidnapped and taken on a motorbike by the militants. Its veracity could not be confirmed.

Speaking to Israeli broadcaster Channel 12, a person who identified himsel as the women's brother said her name is Noa Argamani. "I saw Noa in the video scared and frightened, I can't imagine what's going through her mind at all - screaming in panic on a motorcycle," he said.

Later, another unverified video showed the same woman inside a room, in what was said to be based in Gaza Strip. She was seen sipping water.

Truck full of hostages

A number of videos on social media purportedly show Israeli soldiers dragged and loaded onto trucks that are moving through what appears to areas of the Gaza Strip. 

A clip verified by BBC shows a group of people, apparently Israelis, being led along a street barefooted by Hamas fighters. The video is from Kubbutz region, the news channel reported.

Ella, an Israeli woman based in a town located close to the besieged Gaza Strip, told Reuters that she was barricaded in a bomb shelter for hours as confrontation continued between the Israeli armed forces and the Hamas gunmen.

"We can hear a lot of gunfire, we were told that terrorists are in the dining hall, we can hear a lot of shooting," she told the news agency.

Israeli news channels, however, largely reported that the hostages held by Hamas fighters in towns outside the Gaza Strip have been freed. This includes a group of 50 Israelis who were captured inside a dining room in Kibbutz, the media reports added.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that those who would cause any harm to the Israeli hostages would face a brutal retribution. “We would settle the score with anyone who harms them", Netanyahu said, adding that Hamas is responsible for their safety until they are freed.

 

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Published: 08 Oct 2023, 05:17 PM IST
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