137 hostages remain captives of Hamas as Gaza fighting renews
Israel has focused on the return first of women and children.
Tel Aviv [Israel], December 2 (ANI/TPS): The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) resumed combat operations in the Gaza Strip on Friday morning after Hamas broke a week-long ceasefire, throwing into doubt the further release of hostages. "Unfortunately, Hamas decided to terminate the pause by failing to release all the kidnapped women," said Israeli government spokesman Eylon Levy in a briefing for journalists. "Having chosen to hold onto our women, Hamas will now take the mother of all thumpings."
Levy said that Hamas continues to hold 137 hostages, including two children. Israel has focused on the return first of women and children. According to Levy, 117 of the hostages are male and 20 are female. The two hostages under the age of 18 are nine month-old Kfir Bibas and her four year-old brother, Ariel. Hamas purposefully separated families.
Hamas claims the two Bibas children and their mother are dead but has not provided evidence. The only minors freed in Thursday's releases were 17 year-old Aisha Ziyadne and her 18 year-old brother Bilal, from the Bedouin community of Rahat. Their father and a 25 year-old brother are still in captivity.
Ten other hostages are 75 or older, Levy said. Levy added that 11 of the remaining captives are foreign nationals.
Levy denounced Hamas for branding brothers Yigal and Or Yaakov, ages 12 and 16 respectively, with motorcycle exhaust pipe to prevent their escape, and drugging the children when moving hostages from one location to another. Levy also denounced Hamas for having a veterinarian treat 21 year-old captive Mia Schem, who suffered a hand injury during her abduction. At least 1,200 people were killed in Hamas's attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on October 7. Some people remain unaccounted for as Israeli authorities continue to identify bodies and search for human remains. (ANI/TPS)
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