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IDF Soldier Held Captive by Hamas in Gaza Confirmed Dead

A woman reacts, as people gather in front of the UN Headquarters in Jerusalem demanding for action to be taken to return the hostages kidnapped by Hamas during the Oct. 7 attacks, in Jerusalem, Nov. 13, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Cpl. Noa Marciano, from the city of Modi’in in central Israel, has died as a hostage of the Hamas terror group in Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed on Tuesday.

Marciano was a member of the army’s combat intelligence arm and was kidnapped from her base in Nahal Oz, a kibbutz in southern Israel, during Hamas’ Oct. 7 cross-border assault across southern Israeli communities in which terrorists murdered over 1,200 people and kidnapped more than 240 others.

Hamas on Monday released a propaganda video of Marciano, 19, identifying herself and reciting the names of her parents and her hometown. The video then cut to images of her lying dead with a bloody head wound.

The Palestinian terror group said Marciano’s death was due to IDF military strikes in Hamas-ruled Gaza following the Oct. 7 atrocities. However, experts have said it appears more like she was bludgeoned to death, presumably by her captors.

“Our hearts go out to the Marciano family, whose daughter, Noa, was brutally kidnapped by the Hamas terror organization,” the IDF said in a statement. “Hamas continues to use psychological terror and behaves inhumanely, through videos and photos of hostages, as it has done in the past.”

The military added that it is “using all means, both intelligence and operational, to bring the hostages home.”

The IDF confirmed Marciano’s death based on intelligence, not the Hamas video, according Israel’s Channel 12 news.

Hamas has released other videos of hostages in recent weeks, showing them under duress attacking Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and saying they have been treated well.

Netanyahu has pledged to bring all hostages home, saying that it is the top priority of the country and that no ceasefire in Gaza will happen until they are released.

Families of hostages have been protesting in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem demanding that their loved ones be returned. Marciano’s mother, Adi Marciano, had traveled around the world to lobby for her release along with family members of the other captives held in Gaza, who include children and the elderly.

On Tuesday, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and families of hostages met with the head of the International Red Cross, which has been advocating for the well-being and release of the captives, in order to plead for their help. Hamas has forbidden the Red Cross from entering where the hostages are being kept and ensuring their safety.

Hamas has said it would release the hostages in exchange for Israel handing over all Palestinian prisoners sitting in Israeli jails. So far, Hamas has released only four hostages in two separate occasions.

Israel also announced last month that an IDF private, Pvt. Ori Megidish, held hostage by Hamas was liberated during ground operations in Gaza.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another terrorist group based in Gaza, released a hostage video last week of two Israelis being held in Gaza. The group said in a statement that it is willing to release the pair, Hanna Katzir, 77, and Yagil Yaakov, 12, both of Kibbutz Nir Oz, for “humanitarian reasons.”

The vast majority of the roughly 240 hostages in Gaza are believed to be in the hands of Hamas, but Islamic Jihad, a smaller and allied terrorist group in the Palestinian enclave, has said previously it held at least 30 captives.

The post IDF Soldier Held Captive by Hamas in Gaza Confirmed Dead first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Kyiv Rejects Putin’s ‘Absurd Ultimatum’ to End War

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Photo: Reuters/Maxim Shemetov

i24 NewsRussia’s strongman President Vladimir Putin said he would end the war in Ukraine only if Kyiv agreed to drop its NATO ambitions and hand over the entirety of four provinces claimed by Moscow. Kyiv swiftly rejected the demands as tantamount to surrender.

Putin demands that Ukraine transfers to Russia four regions, including a 300,000 city of Kherson and 700,000 Zaporizhzhya as a “precondition” to “peace talks”. This man is delusional, and those in the West who speak of “negotiations” or “cease fire” are enemies of the free world. pic.twitter.com/fqTGVqMdDu

— Sergej Sumlenny, LL.M (@sumlenny) June 14, 2024

“The conditions are very simple,” Putin said, listing them as the full withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the entire territory of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.

Putin’s maximalist conditions apparently reflect Moscow’s growing confidence that its forces have the upper hand in the war.

He restated his demand for Ukraine’s demilitarization and said an end to Western sanctions must also be part of a peace deal. He also repeated his call for Ukraine’s “denazification.”

“He is offering for Ukraine to admit defeat. He is offering for Ukraine to legally give up its territories to Russia. He is offering for Ukraine to sign away its geopolitical sovereignty,” said Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak, rejecting the demands as “absurd.”

The post Kyiv Rejects Putin’s ‘Absurd Ultimatum’ to End War first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Deadly Explosion Kills 8 IDF Soldiers in Rafah

Illustrative. Some rises after an Israeli strike as Israeli forces launch a ground and air operation in the eastern part of Rafah, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, May 7, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Hatem Khaled

i24 NewsEarly this morning, tragedy struck in the southern Gaza city of Rafah as eight Israeli soldiers lost their lives in a devastating explosion, marking the deadliest incident for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in the region since January.

The IDF has confirmed the casualties, with one soldier identified as Captain Wassem Mahmoud, 23, a deputy company commander from Beit Jann in the Combat Engineering Corps’ 601st Battalion.

The names of the other seven soldiers will be released after their families have been notified.

According to initial reports from the IDF, the soldiers were traveling in a Namer armored combat engineering vehicle (CEV) as part of a convoy around 5 a.m., following a successful overnight operation targeting Hamas militants in the Tel Sultan neighborhood of Rafah. During the operation, troops under the 401st Armored Brigade reportedly neutralized approximately 50 gunmen.

The convoy was en route to buildings captured by the army for the soldiers to rest, when the Namer CEV, which was the fifth or sixth vehicle in the convoy, was struck by a powerful explosion. The nature of the explosion remains under investigation, with possibilities ranging from a pre-planted bomb to an improvised device placed on the vehicle by Hamas operatives.

Initial findings suggest that explosives stored on the exterior of the Namer CEV may have contributed to the severity of the blast. Normally, such explosives are designed to minimize harm to troops inside if detonated.

The IDF probe indicates there was no gunfire preceding the explosion, and the vehicle was not stationary at the time of the incident. The circumstances surrounding the tragedy have prompted intensified scrutiny into the safety protocols and operational procedures during military movements in hostile territories.

The deaths of these eight soldiers bring the total number of IDF casualties in recent ground operations against Hamas to 307. This figure includes a police officer killed during a recent hostage rescue operation and a civilian Defense Ministry contractor also slain in the conflict.

This is a developing story 

The post Deadly Explosion Kills 8 IDF Soldiers in Rafah first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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U.S. Officials Fear Escalating Conflict Between Israel and Hezbollah

Israeli firefighters work following rocket attacks from Lebanon, amid ongoing cross-border hostilities between Hezbollah and Israeli forces, near the border on its Israeli side, June 13, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Avi Ohayon

i24 NewsRecent actions by both Israel and Hezbollah have sparked growing concerns among U.S. officials, who fear that the situation could escalate into a full-scale war, according to reports from CBS News.

The tension has intensified following a series of Israeli airstrikes on Lebanese territory, which some American authorities believe are laying the groundwork for a larger military operation.

Sources within the US government have expressed worries that such a move could trigger a conflict that might strain Israel’s alliance with Washington.

Hezbollah, in response to recent events including the assassination of senior commander Taleb Sami Abdullah, has escalated its own actions. The group has begun launching daily rocket attacks targeting northern Israeli communities since October 8, citing solidarity with Hamas amidst the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

US officials cited by CBS News have highlighted concerns over the potential unintended consequences of Hezbollah’s increased attacks. They fear that these actions could provoke Israel into launching a significant military assault, further exacerbating the volatile situation in the region.

The developments come amid ongoing international efforts to de-escalate tensions and prevent a wider conflict. Diplomatic channels remain active, with calls for restraint and dialogue from various quarters.

The United States, a key ally of Israel, has historically played a crucial role in mediating and influencing regional conflicts. Officials are closely monitoring the situation, emphasizing the importance of avoiding actions that could escalate tensions further.

The post U.S. Officials Fear Escalating Conflict Between Israel and Hezbollah first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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