Israel: Over a Third of Remaining Gaza Hostages May Be Dead

Israel believes over a third of the remaining Gaza hostages are dead, a government tally showed Tuesday.

Of about 250 people dragged into the Gaza Strip by Hamas-led Palestinian gunmen in an October 7 cross-border attack that sparked the war, dozens were freed in a November truce, while others have been recovered – dead or alive – by Israeli troops.

The government’s tally indicates 120 remain in captivity, 43 of whom have been declared dead in absentia by Israeli authorities based on intelligence tip-offs, CCTV or bystander videos, and forensic analysis.

Some officials have privately said the number of dead could be higher.

Hamas, which initially threatened to execute hostages in reprisal for Israeli air strikes, has since said such attacks caused hostage deaths. Israel has not ruled that out in all cases, but said some recovered hostage bodies showed signs of execution.

On Monday, four more hostages were added to Israel’s list of fatalities.

Israeli officials Friday went public with an Israeli proposal to wind down the war, under which some hostages would go free during a preliminary ceasefire.

But mediated efforts to clinch that deal have been bogged down as Israel insists on eventually resuming the campaign to destroy Hamas, while the Palestinian Islamist group demands a guaranteed end to the war and withdrawal of all invasion forces.