Tel Aviv: The Israel Defence Forces raised the number of confirmed hostages being held in Gaza to 203.
IDF Spokesman Rear Adm Daniel Hagari said the families have been notified and stressed that the number will likely rise as the military gets new information.
Hagari noted that some of the notifications were made with high confidence while others were made with moderate to low confidence. Other families of missing Israelis have been told their loved ones are not being held hostage.
Nearly two weeks after Hamas’s attack on border communities, many missing Israelis still have not been accounted for. The IDF is continuing to search for missing Israelis near the Gaza border, and forensic experts are working around the clock to identify bodies. More than 1,400 Israelis were killed and over 4,600 more injured in the attacks.
Families of the captives were angered at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s approval of humanitarian aid deliveries of water, food and medicine to Gaza through Egypt without receiving any concessions.
“The decision to allow humanitarian aid to the murderers of Gaza has caused great anger among the family members,” said the Bring Them Home Now organization in a statement. The organization represents the families of the captives.
“We remind you that children, babies, women, soldiers, men and the elderly — some of whom have serious health issues, are wounded and shot — are being held underground like animals without any human conditions, and the government of Israel is treating the murderers to baklava and medicine,” its statement said.
The Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt is primarily for the passage of people. Commercial deliveries to Gaza are usually brought through the Kerem Shalom crossing, which is adjacent to the Gaza and Egyptian borders. Israel has closed Kerem Shalom for security reasons.
Meanwhile, Commanding Officer of the Southern Command, MG Yaron Finkelman, said, “Now, our manoeuvres are going to take the war into their territory. It’s going to be long, it’s going to be intense, the best commanders and soldiers are here”
As part of the completion of the preparation for the continuation of the fighting, the approval of operational plans and the deployment of forces in the field are currently happening.
The Commanding Officer of the Southern Command toured the various units currently stationed in the southern arena. During his visits, he approved plans and conversed with soldiers and commanders.