The presence of scores of captives in Gaza, a big majority of them civilians, will increase the dangers concerned in a doable Israeli invasion
October 12, 2023 at 10:54 a.m. EDT
Neither the Israeli authorities nor Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza and launched Saturday’s assault, has mentioned precisely how many individuals are being held in Gaza, however the difficulty has wracked households in Israel and overseas, and looms massive as Israel prepares for a doable invasion.
In complete, The Publish discovered visible proof that Palestinian fighters took a minimum of 106 folks captive in the course of the incursion. Beside those that gave the impression to be taken to Gaza, 26 captives have been seen being held in areas that might not be verified, and 16 have been seen solely in Israel. Hamas has mentioned that it holds “tens” of individuals. Israeli authorities have mentioned they estimate that Palestinian fighters took between 100 and 150 folks hostage.
The precise variety of folks taken hostage and troopers taken prisoner in Gaza by Palestinian fighters is nearly actually greater than these seen within the movies and photos reviewed by The Publish. Neither Hamas nor the Israeli army instantly responded to requests for remark.
The Publish reviewed lots of of movies and pictures posted on social media for the reason that preventing started. To evaluate whether or not captives have been taken to Gaza, The Publish geolocated some photos that featured these people or relied extra typically on visible indicators comparable to seen environment or the truth that they have been being transported by armed Palestinian fighters celebrating their seize. In lots of circumstances, relations of captives confirmed that they have been taken to Gaza.
In a number of situations, the visible proof didn’t present sufficient info to find out whether or not a captive had been taken to Gaza, and different abductions reported within the media haven’t been captured in movies or images in any respect.
The movies reviewed by The Publish present a mom and her kids pushed off in a truck, international employees held in a subterranean room and younger folks taken from an all-night desert rave attacked shortly after daybreak on Saturday. In a single case, fighters used a girl’s cellphone to livestream themselves abducting her, her husband and three kids from their dwelling in Nahal Oz, a kibbutz. The Publish seen the livestream and matched the garments worn by one of many daughters to photographs later posted by pro-Hamas Telegram accounts of the identical lady being held in an unidentifiable room.
The photographs present captives being taken from quite a few areas throughout a swath of territory greater than 20 miles vast, from the village of Nir Ozwithin the south to the primary Erez border crossing within the north, reflecting the broad sweep of Hamas’s incursion throughout almost your entire Gaza border in southern Israel.
The query of how many individuals are being held by Hamas, allied armed teams and others in Gaza will likely be essential in coming days. Not for the reason that struggle between Israel and neighboring Arab states in 1973 have so many Israeli civilians or troopers been held captive. On Monday, Hamas threatened to execute a hostage for each Israeli airstrike that targets Palestinians of their properties “with out warning.” The Israeli army continues to bomb websites throughout Gaza because it prepares for a possible invasion that might put hostages in the course of a devastating floor struggle. The air marketing campaign has to this point killed 1,100 Palestinians and wounded 5,339, in response to the Gaza Ministry of Well being.
Hamas itself has misplaced contact with a few of its fighters holding captives, and Gazan civilians additionally took hostages on their very own, the Wall Avenue Journal reported Sunday, citing a senior Hamas official and Egyptian officers. The “full siege” of Gaza declared by Israeli officers will, if continued, additionally trigger situations within the strip to deteriorate quickly.
Amongst People killed or lacking in Israel: A scholar, a nurse, vacationers
Among the the movies reviewed by The Publish present Palestinian fighters taking captives from a number of small cities only a few miles from the Gaza border, a number of of which have been the scene of mass killings of civilians.
In a single broadly publicized case, a video reveals a person carrying a baby down a highway, surrounded by armed Palestinian fighters.
The Publish spoke with Gaya Kalderon, a 21-year-old girl from southern Israel, who mentioned the boy within the video was her youthful brother, 12-year-old Erez. The video was filmed close to her father’s home within the kibbutz of Nir Oz, she mentioned. The Publish independently confirmed the situation within the video.
Kalderon’s brother was hiding within the household’s secure room alongside together with her father, sister, cousin and grandmother in the course of the assault, she mentioned. They’re all lacking.
One other broadly circulated video confirmed an aged girl being pushed by armed fighters via Gaza in a golf cart as girls might be heard shouting greetings to her.
Adva Adar, who lives in Israel, informed The Publish that the lady was her 85-year-old grandmother, Yafa, who’s in poor health and takes medication, together with for ache administration.
“We don’t understand how lengthy she will keep with out her medication,” Adar mentioned.
Although round three-fourths of the folks whom Palestinian fighters took to Gaza gave the impression to be civilians, fighters additionally took troopers prisoner throughout their assaults on army posts.
One daybreak assault on the Erez border crossing in Gaza’s north was recorded on video and revealed on Hamas’s official Telegram account. It reveals Palestinian fighters capturing three males alleged to be Israeli troopers.
A nonetheless picture taken from the assault reveals them pulling one of many captured males via a spot within the concrete wall separating Israel and Gaza.
On Monday morning, a Telegram account that helps Hamas’s army wing and infrequently circulates details about its actions posted the title, image and army identification variety of one of many three males and mentioned he had been killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza.
The United Nations secretary common, António Guterres, has known as for the discharge of all captured civilians. The group’s human rights chief denounced the abductions, saying hostage-taking is forbidden beneath worldwide regulation.
Palestinian fighters additionally introduced a minimum of eight our bodies again into Gaza, together with what gave the impression to be a minimum of six slain troopers, in response to The Publish’s evaluation. Prior to now, the our bodies of Israeli troopers have been a part of prisoner change negotiations between the 2 sides.
Within the battle’s final main prisoner change, in 2011, Hamas exchanged Gilad Shalit, a corporal who had been taken prisoner in an assault on an Israeli put up 5 years earlier, for round 1,000 jailed Palestinians. Throughout the 2014 Israel-Gaza battle, Hamas took the our bodies of two Israeli troopers killed in an assault on their armored personnel provider and holds their stays to today.
Steve Hendrix and Loveday Morris in Jerusalem, Imogen Piper in London and Sarah Dadouch in Beirut contributed to this report.