• Sunday, 21 July 2024

Fresh demonstrations in Israel for release of hostages

Fresh demonstrations in Israel for release of hostages

Tel Aviv, 16 June 2024 (dpa/MIA) - Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities on Saturday evening in favour of the release of hostages in the Gaza Strip.

The participants in the rally in Tel Aviv demanded that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu end the Gaza war so that an agreement can be reached on the hostages abducted by the Islamist Hamas, the news portal haaretz.com reported.

In a speech recorded on video, a man whom the army had freed from hostage-taking a week ago in a major operation said: "There is only one solution for the hostages still in Gaza: a deal between Israel and Hamas."

According to the Forum of Hostage Families, Saturday's protest was the largest since the start of the Gaza war on October 7 last year.

At that time, Hamas and other Palestinian groups had attacked southern Israel, murdered around 1,200 people and abducted a further 250 as hostages in the Gaza Strip.

According to the Hamas-controlled health authorities, more than 37,000 Palestinians have been killed in the course of the resulting war. Around four-fifths of the population are on the run within the sealed-off coastal strip.

An agreement on the release of around 120 hostages still held by Hamas - in return for the release of Palestinians in Israeli prisons - is currently not within reach. It is also unclear how many hostages are still alive.

Hamas is demanding an end to the war or at least a guarantee that Israel will cease hostilities as a precondition for a hostage deal.

Netanyahu is not prepared to do this. He wants to eliminate Hamas once and for all because of its responsibility for the massacre on October 7.

MIA file photo