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Hamas speaks of killed hostages

Israel: Psychological terror
Hamas speaks of killed hostages

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The release of four of the 120 hostages believed to be still in Gaza has sparked enthusiasm in Israel. The Israeli army describes Hamas's statement that not more than 200 Palestinians, but also “several” Israeli hostages, as “psychological terror”.

According to the military wing of Hamas, several hostages were killed during the rescue of four people kidnapped from Israel. This was stated by the spokesman for the Al-Qassam Brigades, Abu Obeida, in a message on the Telegram channel. When asked, an Israeli military spokesman for the army said that Hamas uses psychological terror to achieve its goals. “Accordingly, their statements should be viewed with limited binding force.”

According to army reports, Israeli special forces had freed four hostages from two residential buildings in Nusreirat in the center of the coastal region in the morning. They were being held by Hamas. Many Palestinians were killed in the fierce fighting and, according to Israeli reports, a police officer involved in the operation was killed. While Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, among others, spoke of a “massacre”, the hostage release was celebrated in Israel as a great success. Politicians, relatives of the hostages and the media praised the “heroic” and “almost perfect” deployment of the security forces.

The hostage rescue is an important success for the government and the army leadership. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the military leadership are under criticism because, after eight months of war with tens of thousands of victims in the Gaza Strip, none of the war aims seem to be within reach. Hamas is still able to offer resistance in the Gaza Strip and fire rockets at Israel. Above all, there are still around 120 hostages in the hands of the terrorists, many of them probably dead. Pressure is growing from outside on Israel to end the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza. If it turns out that the rescue operation was anything but “almost perfect” and one or more hostages were killed, this would be a serious setback for Netanyahu.

Threat against remaining hostages

In the past, Hamas has also spoken of hostages allegedly being killed after Israeli military operations. In many cases, it is not possible to verify when and under what circumstances the hostages in question died. In December, Israeli soldiers shot three hostages who had escaped their captors and were hoping to be rescued by the army. The case sparked heated debate in Israel about the military's actions in Gaza.

Unlike in previous cases of allegedly dead hostages, Kassam spokesman Abu Obeida did not name or disclose the number of dead this time. He also issued a threat against the remaining hostages. The rescue operation would pose a “great danger” to them and “would have a negative impact on their situation and their lives.”

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