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Families of Israeli hostages disrupt Knesset session to demand swap deal with Hamas

Anadolu Agency MIDDLE EAST
Published April 03,2024

Relatives of Israeli hostages held in the Gaza Strip protested at the Knesset (Israel's parliament) on Wednesday, in the latest demonstration aimed at piling pressure on the government to reach a hostage swap deal with Hamas.

Protesters disrupted a Knesset session in West Jerusalem with their hands painted yellow and throwing yellow paint on the glass windows of the assembly's guest gallery, according to a video released by the Knesset.

"Do not go on summer recess at our expense," protesters shouted. "There will be no recess until the last captive is returned."

Protesters were later removed by security guards, according to an Anadolu reporter.

Families of Israeli hostages have been staging protests to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government and a hostage-prisoner exchange deal with Hamas.

Hamas, which is believed to be holding nearly 130 Israeli hostages, demands an end to Israel's offensive on the Gaza Strip in return for any hostage deal with Tel Aviv.

A previous deal in November last year saw the release of 81 Israelis and 24 foreigners in exchange for 240 Palestinians, including 71 women and 169 children.

Israel has waged a deadly military offensive on the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 cross-border attack by Hamas which killed around 1,200 people.

At least 32,975 Palestinians have since been killed and 75,577 injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities. Israel has imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.

The Israeli war has pushed 85% of Gaza's population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water, and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which last week asked it to do more to prevent famine in Gaza.