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End attacks on Gaza, Israeli hostage's sister asks Israel, calling for protests outside Netanyahu's home

January 20, 2024 at 4:10 pm

Demonstrators during an anti-government protest in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024. [Kobi Wolf/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

A sister of one of the hostages held by the Palestinian resistance group Hamas since Oct. 7 has asked the Israeli government to halt attacks on the Gaza Strip, blaming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his “contradictory” stance on the issue, which has put the hostages’ lives at risk, Anadolu reports.

Merav Svirsky, the sister of Itay Svirsky, who was killed by Israeli forces during an onslaught on Gaza a few days ago, has called for an end to the attacks on the enclave.

The Netanyahu government’s declared war goals are “contradictory,” Svirsky said in an interview with Israeli broadcaster Channel 12.

She said the “destruction of Hamas” and the return of hostages are incompatible goals, noting that “the conflict puts hostages’ lives at risk.”

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She stressed an agreement that ensures the return of hostages held in Gaza.

“The government said the return of the kidnapped people is its priority. If not, they have been lying to us all this time,” Svirsky said, asking all Israelis to “join the protest in front of Netanyahu’s house and take action.”

On Monday, Hamas announced that two Israeli prisoners held by Palestinian factions were killed during an Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

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Itay Svirsky was identified as one of the casualties. The Israeli army confirmed his death on Tuesday but accused Hamas of killing him.

Hamas, on the other hand, blamed Israel’s army for killing hostages.

Earlier on Dec. 16, the Israeli army found its soldiers guilty of killing three Israeli hostages in Gaza who were being held by Hamas, citing them for acting outside the rules of engagement.

This was not the first time the Israeli army admitted that its soldiers were responsible for mistaken attacks that killed troops in what it refers to as “friendly fire.”

The army previously admitted that 20 soldiers had been killed in Gaza by “friendly fire” since the ground operation began in the narrow enclave at the end of October.

Israel claims that Hamas has been holding around 136 Israelis in Gaza since Oct. 7, 2023, while Hamas demands a cease-fire in Gaza and the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons in exchange for releasing Israeli hostages in its custody.

Israel has launched relentless air and ground attacks on Gaza since a cross-border attack by Hamas which Tel Aviv says killed 1,200 people.

At least 24,927 Palestinians have since been killed, mostly women and children, and 62,388 injured, according to Palestinian health authorities.

The Israeli offensive has left 85% of Gaza’s population internally displaced amid acute shortages of food, clean water, and medicine, while 60% of the enclave’s infrastructure was damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

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