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Israelis take to streets in Tel Aviv demanding hostage swap deal with Hamas

May 16, 2024 at 8:50 pm

People demonstrate demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, early elections and the return of Israeli prisoners in Gaza to their homes as attacks on Gaza continued in Tel Aviv, Israel on May 11, 2024. [Mostafa Alkharouf – Anadolu Agency]

Scores of Israelis gathered on Thursday in front of the Ministry of Defence headquarters in Tel Aviv to demand a hostage swap deal with Hamas, Anadolu Agency reports.

“Around 100 people demonstrated in front of the Ministry of Defence in Tel Aviv, demanding an agreement to release the captives,” the Israeli army radio reported.

The protesters carried Israeli flags and pictures of the hostages, coinciding with a meeting of the War Council, followed by a meeting of the Ministerial Committee on National and Security Affairs (the security Cabinet), according to the Israeli Yedioth Ahronoth.

Qatar, Egypt and the US are trying to reach a hostage swap deal and a ceasefire in Gaza, as the first pause lasted only a week in late November last year, which resulted in limited aid entering the Gaza Strip, as well as exchanges of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners, mostly women and children detained in Israeli jails.

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Tel Aviv currently holds at least 9,100 Palestinian prisoners in its jails, while there are an estimated 134 Israeli hostages in Gaza. Hamas has announced the death of 70 of them in random Israeli airstrikes.

Israel continued its brutal offensive on the Gaza Strip despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in the enclave.

More than 35,200 Palestinians have since been killed, mostly women and children, and over 79,200 others injured since last October following a Hamas attack.

More than seven months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which, in January, issued an interim ruling that ordered it to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

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