Islamic Jihad says only way to free Israel hostages is Gaza withdrawal, prisoner deal

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The armed wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad said on Saturday the only way to return Israeli hostages is through Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, ending its offensive and reaching a deal for exchanging Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners.

The spokesman of Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian group, made the remarks in a video posted on Telegram.

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Islamic Jihad is a smaller ally of the militant group Hamas, which led a rampage in southern Israel on Oct. 7 in which 1,200 people were killed and over 250 taken hostage, according to Israeli tallies. More than 100 hostages are believed to remain captive in Gaza, although at least 40 have been declared dead in absentia by Israeli authorities.

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At least 37,296 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s military campaign to eliminate Hamas, according to the Gaza health ministry.

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