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Scores of Israelis protest in Tel Aviv to demand hostage swap deal with Hamas

Anadolu Agency MIDDLE EAST
Published May 26,2024

Scores of Israelis demonstrated in Tel Aviv on Sunday evening to demand a hostage swap deal with Palestinian group Hamas.

Families of hostages held by Hamas joined the protest, held outside the Defense Ministry headquarters where a meeting of Israel's Security Council was being held, the Israeli public broadcaster KAN reported.

Israeli police forces were deployed near the site of the protest.

According to KAN, the protest was staged to pile pressure on the Israeli government to resume talks with Palestinian factions to reach a hostage swap deal.

On Saturday, thousands demonstrated in several areas across Israel to call for a hostage swap agreement with Hamas and toppling the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Two demonstrators were arrested on charges of rioting and disobeying the law.

Hamas, which is believed to be holding nearly 130 hostages, demands an end to Israel's war on the Gaza Strip in return for any hostage swap.

Israel has continued its brutal offensive on the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7, 2023 despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire.

Nearly 36,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, the vast majority being women and children, and over 80,600 others injured since October following an attack by Hamas.

Nearly eight months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel is accused of "genocide" at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which in its latest ruling has ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its operation in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza where more than a million displaced Palestinians had sought refuge.