Gaza war rages on 100th day


HOSTAGES “IN TUNNEL, IN BASEMENTS”

On a cold and rainy Sunday in Tel Aviv, Israelis danced, sang and prayed at a series of events to mark the 100 days of captivity for the Gaza hostages.

“I don’t think we imagined a situation where we would be here on the 100th day,” said Gili Dvash Yeshurun, who attended the commemoration.

Israel’s trade union federation, the Histadrut, said hundreds of thousands of workers joined a 100-minute strike.

“I hoped that a miracle would happen and we wouldn’t need to stand here today,” Histadrut chairman Arnon Bar-David told a rally.

But it was necessary to “remind the whole world” that the hostages were still held “in Gaza, in tunnels, in basements”, he said.

Abu Obeida, a spokesman for Hamas’s armed wing, said many of the hostages are likely to have been killed recently.

“The enemy’s leadership and army bear full responsibility,” he said in a televised statement.

But Hamas on Sunday also released video footage it claimed showed three hostages alive in its custody in Gaza.

In the video, one woman and two men appear talking in Hebrew calling on the Israeli authorities to act for their return home. It was unclear when the footage was filmed.

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant vowed earlier on Sunday: “We will not let the world forget. We will not leave them behind.”

In the occupied West Bank, where violence has surged since early October, Israeli forces killed five Palestinians including two shot dead when their car broke through a checkpoint, sources on both sides said.

Troops also detained two sisters of Saleh al-Aruri, Hamas’s deputy leader killed in a strike in Beirut this month, Palestinian sources and the Israeli army said.

A US defence official has said Israel carried out that strike, which stoked fears of a wider war.

On the latest foreign diplomatic mission to the region, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in Egypt, urged the establishment of a Palestinian state and a ceasefire in Gaza.



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