Israel Palestine Conflict

Israel says bodies of hostages found in Gaza

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The Israeli military said Saturday that the bodies of some hostages abducted by Hamas militants had been found during operations inside Gaza this week.

“We have found and located some bodies in the perimeter in the Gaza Strip of Israelis that were abducted,” a military spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, told a briefing.

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Israel says that at least 120 people were abducted when Hamas fighters launched attacks inside Israel on October 7 that left at least 1,300 dead.

The Israeli military has since staged “localized” raids inside Gaza to back an air onslaught on the territory that the Hamas government says has left at least 2,215 dead.

Lerner said the bodies of hostages were found on these “small, close-perimeter raids into the Gaza Strip.”

The Israeli military has carried out air raids on thousands of Hamas targets in Gaza, the spokesman said.

“They include quality targets such as drone facilities, they include naval facilities, they include command and control facilities, they include all of the rocket facilities,” Lerner said.

“Our assessment suggests that at this time Hamas are in a state of disarray, they have no idea what the situation is above ground, they have escaped into the tunnels.”

Government officials also indicated that more time would be given for civilians to leave the north of the territory ahead of an expected full-scale ground offensive.

Lerner did not say there is a deadline to leave north Gaza, but told the briefing: “We have extended once again because we realized that there is a huge amount of people that need to get out. We are continuing to encourage the population in the north of the Gaza Strip and Gaza City to go south and get out of harm’s way.”

Foreign ministry spokesman Lior Haiat told the briefing that Israel is not demanding that Palestinians leave Gaza but just to get out of the north.

“We gave them (civilians) the time to do so and we will continue to give civilians time to leave the places that we think Hamas is using for its terrorist infrastructure,” Haiat said.

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