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Israelis take to Tel Aviv streets to demand hostage swap deal

On Thursday, a large group of Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv outside the Ministry of Defense headquarters to call for a hostage exchange with Hamas. The demonstrators proudly waved Israeli flags and held up photos of the hostages.

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published May 16,2024

Scores of Israelis gathered on Thursday in front of the Ministry of Defense headquarters in Tel Aviv to demand a hostage swap deal with Hamas.

"Around 100 people demonstrated in front of the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv, demanding an agreement to release the captives," the Israeli army radio reported.

The protesters carried Israeli flags and pictures of the hostages, coinciding with a meeting of the War Council, followed by a meeting of the Ministerial Committee on National and Security Affairs (the security Cabinet), according to the Israeli Yedioth Ahronoth.

Qatar, Egypt, and the US are trying to reach a hostage swap deal and a cease-fire in Gaza, as the first pause lasted only a week in late November last year, which resulted in limited aid entering the Gaza Strip, as well as exchanges of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners, mostly women and children detained in Israeli jails.

Tel Aviv currently holds at least 9,100 Palestinian prisoners in its jails, while there are an estimated 134 Israeli hostages in Gaza. Hamas has announced the death of 70 of them in random Israeli airstrikes.

Israel continued its brutal offensive on the Gaza Strip despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire in the enclave.

More than 35,200 Palestinians have since been killed, mostly women and children, and over 79,200 others injured since last October following a Hamas attack.

More than seven 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, which has ordered Tel Aviv to ensure its forces do not commit acts of genocide and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.