Israeli intelligence confirms dozens of hostages thought to be alive in Gaza are dead: report
Israeli intelligence says dozens of hostages previously thought to be alive in Gaza are now confirmed dead, according to a report from the New York Times.
Israeli officials have concluded that at least 32 of the 136 hostages thought to be in Gaza have been killed. Israel reportedly has informed the families of the 32 hostages, according to four officials who spoke to the newspaper.
The report also states that officials are investigating unconfirmed intelligence indicating that at least 20 more hostages may have been killed. Most of those who have newly been confirmed to be dead were killed on Oct. 7, the Israeli military confirmed to the Times.
The report comes as Israel, the U.S., Egypt, Qatar and Hamas continue negotiations for a potential exchange of the remaining hostages for Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.
Israel has continued its campaign against Hamas in southern Gaza, with fighting largely centered on Khan Younis, the largest city in southern Gaza. Israel’s military has also carried out attempts to free hostages by force, with varying levels of success.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has vowed that the campaign will continue as far south as Rafah, a city on the border with Egypt.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivered a joint press conference with the Qatari Prime Minister on Tuesday. He confirmed that Hamas had replied with a ‘positive’ message when presented with the parameters of an agreement. They did not offer details on any deal, however.
‘There is still a lot of work to be done, but we continue to believe that an agreement is possible and, indeed, essential,’ Blinken said. ‘We will continue to work relentlessly to achieve it.’
Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed Al-Thani nevertheless called on Israel to implement a cease-fire to allow humanitarian aid to flow to Palestinians. He also called on Western nations to continue funding UNRWA, the aid group that Israel has accused of employing hundreds of Hamas collaborators, including at least a dozen who allegedly participated in the Oct. 7 terror attack.