Israel fighting ‘bloody and difficult war,’ president says as it nears half-year mark

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Israel is fighting a “bloody and difficult war,” President Isaac Herzog said in a statement to mark the conflict reaching its half-year mark on Sunday.

“Tomorrow at 6:29 am (0329 GMT), we mark six months since the cruel terror attack and the horrific massacre,” Herzog said on Saturday, referring to Hamas’s October 7 attack on southern Israel which started the war.

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“Half a year since this crime against our sisters and brothers, against our state, this crime against humanity. Six months of a bloody and difficult war,” said the president, whose role is largely ceremonial.

Herzog’s remarks come after the army announced it had recovered the body of Elad Katzir, a hostage it said had been murdered in captivity in Gaza in January.

They also came as tens of thousands of Israeli protested against right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s handling of the war.

The October 7 attack by Hamas resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people in southern Israel, mostly civilians, according to Israeli figures.

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Of the 250 hostages seized by Palestinian militants, the army says 129 remain in Gaza, including 34 who are presumed dead.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive against Hamas has killed at least 33,137 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Gaza’s health ministry.

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At least 33,137 Palestinians killed in Gaza offensive since Oct. 7: Ministry

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