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Thousands of Israelis take to streets to demand hostage swap deal, dismissal of Netanyahu gov't

June 16, 2024 at 8:19 am

Thousands holding banners gather during a demonstration to demand a hostage swap deal with Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip and the dismissal of the government led by Benjamin Netanyahu, in Tel Aviv, Israel on June 15, 2024 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

Thousands of Israelis protested on Saturday in several areas in the country, demanding a hostage swap deal with Palestinian factions and dismissal of the government led by Premier Benjamin Netanyahu, Anadolu news agency reported.

The Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that thousands in Tel Aviv, Netanya, Haifa and the Qiryat Tivon junction demanded the release of hostages in Gaza, the holding of early elections and the dismissal of the government.

Israeli army radio also reported that tens of thousands demonstrated in Kaplan Square in central Tel Aviv to demand the government conclude an immediate hostage swap deal with Palestinian factions.

Several protesters closed a section of Ayalon Street in central Tel Aviv, which police later reopened using force, according to the Israeli broadcasting authority.

Nearly 37,300 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, most of them women and children, and more than 85,000 others injured, according to local health authorities.

Over eight months into the Israeli war, vast tracts 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 its latest ruling has ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its operation in the southern city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on 6 May.

READ: Food supplies in southern Gaza at risk, says UN official