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Israel: protesters demand end to war in Gaza and return of hostages

October 23, 2023 at 10:20 am

Relatives hang banners and photos of their relatives, who are held captive, as they gather to demand that the government take action to secure the return of their relatives on the 16th day of Israeli attacks in Tel Aviv, Israel on October 22, 2023. [Nir Keidar – Anadolu Agency]

Thousands of Israelis protested in Tel Aviv on Sunday against the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and demanded an end to the war in Gaza and the return of Israeli prisoners of war and hostages held by Hamas and other Palestinian factions since 7 October. Netanyahu was called upon to resign after “the miserable failure suffered by the Israeli army in Operation Al-Aqsa Flood.”

Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari announced yesterday that 212 families had been informed that their relatives are “prisoners of war” in the Gaza Strip. He pointed out that the number is “not final, as the army is verifying new information about missing people.”

According to a spokesman for Hamas military wing Al-Qassam Brigades, between 200 and 250 Israelis had been captured, including high-ranking soldiers. It is believed that the movement wants to exchange them for more than 6,000 Palestinian political prisoners, including children and women, detained in Israeli prisons, many of them held with neither charge nor trial.

For the sixteenth day in a row, the Israeli army is continuing its ruthless bombing of Palestinian civilians in the besieged Gaza Strip, destroying whole neighbourhoods and wiping out entire families. As of yesterday, 4,741 Palestinians had been killed, including 1,873 children and 1,023 women. Around 1,400 Israeli soldiers and settlers were killed in the Hamas attack.

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