Hamas has declared its intent to retaliate by targeting an Israeli hostage whenever Gaza’s civilian population is attacked by Israeli armed forces “without any formal prior warning.”
Spokesperson Abu Obeida from Hamas conveyed this message in an audio statement released Monday night. The militant organization, which holds authority in Gaza and has been designated as a terrorist group by the United States government, initiated a series of coordinated assaults on Israel over the weekend, resulting in numerous casualties and the taking of hostages in Gaza.
In response, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen cautioned the group that any harm inflicted on captured Israeli civilians would be deemed a “war crime” and not pardoned.
The Israeli military has officially verified that 126 individuals are currently being held as hostages by Hamas.
The specific counts of Europeans involved have not been made public. While there were discussions in Brussels about a unified response, historical precedent suggests that each nation will utilize its available influence to secure the release of its citizens.
Israel has reported that its forces discovered the remains of certain hostages during their incursions into Gaza, but they have not disclosed the exact number.
Meanwhile, Hamas has asserted that 22 of these hostages have been killed in Israeli airstrikes, though no evidence has been presented to substantiate this claim.
The @IAFsite is currently executing a comprehensive air campaign against Hamas in Gaza, intending to diminish their ability to threaten the safety of the Israeli population. Hamas initiated this conflict, and we are fully dedicated to reinstating security within our nation.”
In reaction to the Saturday attacks, Israel has launched numerous airstrikes on Gaza, causing further loss of life.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have confirmed striking more than 1,200 locations in Gaza from Saturday to Monday, underlining that this count has continued to rise.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that his nation’s military will impose a “substantial toll” on Hamas for their assault.