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A Troubling Hamas Claim Has US and Israeli Officials Fearing the Worst for Remaining Hostages

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A Wall Street Journal article cited by The Times of Israel on Wednesday claimed that a large number of Israeli hostages taken by Hamas after the terror attacks of October 7, 2023, have died. According to the report, Israel Defense Forces airstrikes, Hamas’ use of hostages for human shields, and deteriorating health are likely the causes of the deaths.

The report stated that while the IDF confirmed that 34 of the remaining 129 hostages were killed by Hamas, citing intelligence and findings gathered by troops operating in Gaza on October 7, “Israeli officials and American officials privately estimate that the number could be much higher.”

American officials familiar with the intelligence told The Washington Post that US estimates suggest that the majority of hostages have already died. They also stressed that US information about the hostages was limited and depended in part on Israeli intelligence.

The report coincides with ongoing negotiations between Israel, Hamas, and the remaining hostages to secure their release.

US officials quoted in this report stated that some hostages were likely killed by Israeli attacks on Gaza during the ongoing conflict, while others died from health issues including injuries sustained during their abduction.

The report stated that officials believe hostages still alive are being used to surround the leadership of the group, hidden deep within Gaza tunnels.

It’s not just an issue for Israel. Hamas supporters are found in the United States.

The Times of Israel published an update on Wednesday that stated that Hamas had refused an offer to release 40 prisoners. Their reasons are troubling.

Hamas claims that to achieve this, it must release 40 male Israeli soldiers since the terror group does not possess any elderly women or female soldiers. Hamas, however, refuses to release any of the male soldiers that it captured on October 7th and only wants to free fewer than forty hostages. The Kan public broadcaster describes this issue as the main obstacle to the ongoing negotiations.

Hamas uses these hostages as bargaining chips, including many innocent civilians. Hamas, of course, has violated every law of warfare since its inception. Israel has always been willing to exchange its hostages, who are overwhelmingly criminals, for its people at vastly inflated ratios. Hamas has treated its hostages in a way that is at best uncivilized and at worst brutal. Amit Soussana was a Hamas captive who has been released. She spoke out about her captivity and described how she was chained to her ankles, suffered a sexual attack, and other violent assaults at the hands of her captors.

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