- Two Brits are among those being held in Gaza, with four hostages released so far
The desperate families of hostages held by Hamas have urged Israel to agree an ‘everyone-for-everyone’ prisoner swap.
Relatives concerned about Israel’s escalating attacks in Gaza demanded to know the government’s plans for the rescue of their loved ones in a tense meeting with prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Israeli military confirmed yesterday that 239 hostages are thought to have been taken during the attack on southern Israel on October 7.
Israel has since launched an intense bombardment of Gaza, prompting fears for the safety of the hostages, many of whom are thought to be being held in Hamas’ tunnel network.
Pictured: Yocheved Lifshitz and Nurit Cooper – also known as Nurit Yitzhak – who were held hostages by Palestinian Hamas militants, are released on Monday
A spokesman for the terrorist group has claimed it is ready to release all hostages if Israel frees all Palestinian prisoners.
There are thought to be some 5,200 Palestinians in Israeli jails, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club advocacy group.
Meirav Leshem Gonen, the mother of Romi Gonen, 23, who was abducted from the Supernova dance music festival, said: ‘We spoke bluntly and made it clear to the prime minister… that a comprehensive deal based on the everyone-for-everyone principle is a deal the families would consider and has the support of all of Israel.’
She said families went to the meeting with ‘an unequivocal demand’ that Israeli plans for military action should weigh up the ‘wellbeing of our loved ones’.
Benjamin Netanyahu (pictured) has said Israel is determined to free all hostages and the expanding ground operation ‘will help us in this mission’
Posters showing the kidnapped, Israeli Dafna Elyakim and Israeli-Argentinians Yuval and Ronan Engel are seen as people gather outside the Qatari Embassy in London on October 29, 2023
Noam Alon, whose girlfriend Inbat Heiman was also taken from the festival, said freeing the hostages ‘should be the priority for the government’.
He told the BBC: ‘Israel should pay the highest price to bring them back. Israel left them behind on October 7 and it can’t do it again.’
Igal Sarusi, father of Almog Sarusi, said: ‘An everyone-for-everyone deal is acceptable and we hope it materialises soon.’
Mr Netanyahu has said Israel is determined to free all hostages and the expanding ground operation ‘will help us in this mission’.
Two Britons are among those being held in Gaza, with four hostages having so far been released by Hamas.