‘Dozens’ of civilians being held hostage by Hamas: Israeli military

Hamas says it seeks the release of all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails in exchange for the Israeli captives.

Israel says that dozens of its civilians have been taken hostage by Hamas in Gaza [File: Mohammed Saber/EPA-EFE]

Dozens of Israelis are being held hostage by the Hamas movement in Gaza, according to an Israeli military spokesperson.

Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht said during a news conference on Monday that “dozens” of people were taken hostage, including elderly civilians, families and children.

Hecht said Hamas’s attack over the weekend had been “unprecedented” and he could not rule out the possibility that fighters were still crossing the border and entering Israeli territory.

He did not confirm the exact numbers and nationalities.

Hamas said on Sunday it captured more than 100 people. It has said it seeks the release of all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails – about 4,500 detainees, according to Israeli rights group B’Tselem – in exchange for the Israeli captives.

An unknown number of US citizens are among the hostages, according to the Israeli ambassador to the United States.

The diplomat, Michael Herzog, was asked on CBS News if there were Americans among the soldiers and civilians that the Palestinian militant group abducted in southern Israel.

“I understand there are, but I don’t have details,” he said on Sunday.

On Monday, a French lawmaker said that at least eight French nationals were missing, confirmed dead or taken hostage in the recent violence in Israel.

Conservative MP Meyer Habib, who represents French people living abroad in a swathe of Mediterranean countries including Israel, wrote on X social media page that he spoke directly to the father of 26-year-old Avidan T from Bordeaux, who lives in Israel.

The father “confirmed to me that, as we feared, this young Frenchman… has indeed been taken hostage”, he wrote.

France’s foreign ministry said on Sunday evening that one Frenchwoman had been killed in the Hamas attack on Israel, adding that it had been unable to locate several more nationals.

Source: News Agencies