(JTA) — Israeli officials have notified the relatives of 199 people that their loved ones are believed to be hostages in Gaza, an Israel Defense Forces spokesperson said on Monday.
The number marked a sharp revision of the army’s previous estimate of the number of Israeli captives, which had grown to 155 in the days after Hamas struck Israel Oct. 7, leaving thousands of people dead, wounded or taken hostage.
The new estimate comes as Israel prepares for a ground invasion of Gaza that families of the hostages fear could put their loved ones at further risk.
“We are making valiant efforts to try to understand where the hostages are in Gaza, and we have such information,” an Israel Defense Forces spokesman, Daniel Hagari, said at a press conference Monday, according to Times of Israel. “We will not carry out an attack that would endanger our people.”
Little information has emerged publicly about the condition, whereabouts or survival of the hostages after an initial flurry of videos released right after the attack. It was also not clear whether the IDF believed that 199 represented a comprehensive estimate of the number of hostages. The bodies of several hostages, who had been killed, were recovered when the Israeli military led a small incursion into Gaza ahead of the invasion.
They have held press conferences to call attention to the missing, created viral social media videos showcasing the names and information about the hostages and made available posters that volunteers have plastered in public spaces, including in New York City subway stations.
The hostages include women, children and the elderly and have drawn significant attention from international leaders, including President Joe Biden, who spoke with their families for 90 minutes on Friday, and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has been moving among Middle East countries trying to broker their release. A diplomatic source told the Times of Israel on Sunday that Qatar was involved in the effort as well but that Israel had so far declined to participate in talks.
“Israel will not hold negotiations with an enemy that we have vowed to wipe from the face of the earth,” the head of Israel’s National Security Council said on Saturday, eliciting ire from the families of the missing.
On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with representatives of the missing for the first time, vowing to do everything possible to bring them home. But a family that has not been part of the collective organizing appeared at the meeting and expressed support for Netanyahu, according to a Haaretz report, creating tensions with the others who have accused the prime minister of giving too little attention to their family members’ plight.
The post At least 199 people are being held hostage by Hamas, Israel says, more than earlier estimates appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
Protester Sets Self on Fire Outside Israeli Consulate in Atlanta
i24 News – A protester was in critical condition on Friday after setting themself on fire outside the Israeli consulate in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. authorities said. A security guard who tried to intervene was also wounded.
A Palestinian flag found at the scene was part of the protest, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said at a news conference. He added that investigators did not believe there was any connection to terrorism and none of the consular staff was ever in danger.
JUST IN: A pro-Palestine protester is in critical condition after they set themselves on fire in “political protest” outside of the Israeli Consulate office in Atlanta.
The protester was reportedly draped in a Palestine flag.
The protester has severe burns and unfortunately, a… pic.twitter.com/B8nUQAj2nU
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) December 1, 2023
“We do not see any threat here,” he said. “We believe it was an act of extreme political protest that occurred.” Everyone inside the consulate building was said to be safe.
Anat Sultan-Dadon, Consul General of Israel to the southeastern U.S., said: “We are saddened to learn of the self-immolation at the entrance to the office building. It is tragic to see the hate and incitement toward Israel expressed in such a horrific way.”
“The sanctity of life is our highest value. Our prayers are with the security officer who was injured while trying to prevent this tragic act. We are grateful to the city of Atlanta’s law enforcement and first responders for all they do to ensure safety.”
The post Protester Sets Self on Fire Outside Israeli Consulate in Atlanta first appeared on Algemeiner.com.
Released Israeli Hostages Call for Captives to Be Freed
Israeli hostages released in the past week by Hamas in Gaza called on Saturday for the immediate release of fellow captives left behind, a day after a temporary truce that had allowed scores to come home broke down.
Tens of thousands gathered at a rally in Tel Aviv outside Israel‘s defense headquarters, where they cheered Yelena Trupanov, 50, standing on a stage just two days after being freed.
“I came to thank you because without you I wouldn’t be here. Now we must bring back my (son) Sasha, and everyone. Now.”
Similar pleas from other released hostages were shown on video.
A seven-day truce, during which Hamas had released more than 100 hostages, collapsed on Friday after Hamas breached the ceasefire.
Israel said on Saturday it had recalled a Mossad intelligence agency team from Qatar, host of indirect negotiations with Hamas, accusing the Palestinian faction of reneging on a deal that would have freed all children and women held hostage.
More than 240 people – Israelis and foreign nationals – were abducted to Gaza on Oct 7. by Hamas terrorists who burst through the border with Israel and killed 1,200 people.
The post Released Israeli Hostages Call for Captives to Be Freed first appeared on Algemeiner.com.
IDF Foils Stabbing Attack Near Nablus in West Bank, Eliminates Terrorist
i24 News – The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported thwarting a stabbing attack on Saturday afternoon against reserve Battalion 7037 at the X junction near Nablus in the West Bank.
According to the IDF spokesperson, the event unfolded when the forces at the roadblock became suspicious of an individual approaching the barricade.
During the questioning process, the suspect suddenly drew a knife and advanced towards the IDF personnel.
ניסיון פיגוע דקירה אירע לפני זמן קצר לעבר כוח צה”ל במילואים מגדוד 7037 שפעל בחסם בצומת האיקס סמוך לעיר שכם שבמרחב חטיבת שומרון.
הכוח חשד במחבל שהגיע לחסם והחל לתחקר אותו, המחבל שלף סכין והחל להתקדם לעבר הכוח.
הלוחמים חתרו למגע והגיבו בירי לעבר המחבל שחוסל. אין נפגעים לכוחותינו. pic.twitter.com/mEaJs58hpE
— דובר צה״ל דניאל הגרי – Daniel Hagari (@IDFSpokesperson) December 2, 2023
The soldiers, faced with the threat, engaged in contact procedures and ultimately responded by opening fire on the assailant. The spokesperson confirmed that the attacker was neutralized due to the IDF’s action.
It was also noted that there were no casualties among the IDF forces involved in the incident. According to the spokesperson, the situation at the X junction has stabilized, and IDF continues to maintain vigilance in the area to prevent further attacks.
The post IDF Foils Stabbing Attack Near Nablus in West Bank, Eliminates Terrorist first appeared on Algemeiner.com.