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Israel: We told families of 31 detainees that they died in Gaza

February 7, 2024 at 12:42 pm

Israeli army spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari in Tel Aviv on October 18, 2023 [GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images]

Israel announced yesterday that 31 prisoners of war held in Gaza had been killed in the enclave.

Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari said in a press conference: “We informed the families of 31 abductees that their abducted loved ones are no longer alive and we confirmed their death in Gaza.”

He added: “We informed the rest of the families of the confirmed information we have regarding the fate and situation of their relatives.”

“We continue to fight to create conditions for the return of all abductees to the homeland.”

Tel Aviv estimates that there are about 136 Israeli prisoners of war held in Gaza, while it holds at least 9,000 Palestinians in its prisons, according to official sources from both parties. Some 3,484 Palestinians are held under administrative detention, without charge or trial, based on secret evidence which even their lawyers are unable to access.

Hagari said: “Israeli army forces continue fighting in Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip, and deepen the achievements north of the Strip.”

“In Khan Yunis, special units work in the tunnels side by side with the General Security Service (Shin Bet), using advanced technology and accurate intelligence information to identify Hamas’s strategic underground locations.”

He added: “We reached sites where Hamas leaders were holed up and from there they led the war, and in some of them the kidnappers were detained,” he claimed.

He added: “We are launching new military operations and destroying Hamas’ structures. Now, Israeli army soldiers are present at these moments in the midst of a military operation in the beach area in Gaza, and we will provide the details later.”

Hamas has made no response to the spokesperson’s allegations.

Israel has indiscriminately bombed Gaza since 7 October, killing more than 27,700 Palestinians, the majority women and children. Its campaign has been described as “genocidal” and an attempt to “ethnically cleanse Gaza”, with analysts reporting that Tel Aviv’s actions are not a means through which prisoners of war would be located and released safely.

In December, Israeli occupation forces admitted to killing three Israeli hostages in northern Gaza after the men appeared from a building “shirtless”, speaking Hebrew and holding up a makeshift white flag. Israel came under heavy criticism with many saying the three men were fired upon because they were assumed to be “Palestinian civilians”, despite not posing any threat.

READ: Gaza: Palestinian returns to his area but hardly recognises where he lived