Thousands of Israelis demand return of captives after bodies recovered

AFP , Saturday 25 May 2024

Thousands of Israelis rallied in Tel Aviv on Saturday to demand urgent government action to bring home captives held in Gaza, after the bodies of several were retrieved.

Tel Aviv protests
Relatives and supporters of Israelis taken captive by Hamas in Gaza demonstrate to call for their release in the central city of Tel Aviv on May 25, 2024. AFP


Protesters observed a minute's silence in Tel Aviv's Hostages Square in honour of the captives whose bodies were recovered by Israeli troops this month, an AFP correspondent reported.

The army said on Friday that troops had retrieved the bodies of three captives in an overnight operation in Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip.

The remains of Chanan Yablonka, Brazilian-Israeli Michel Nisenbaum and French-Mexican Orion Hernandez Radoux "were rescued" and their families notified after forensic identification, the military said in a statement.

"In just a few hours, I will bury my 42-year-old brother... I feared this moment," Yablonka's sister Avivit said at Saturday's rally.

"My brother, I promise you that I will continue to shout, support, fight and do everything so that all the hostages return home safely."

"They must be taken out of this hell now."

The bodies of four other dead captives -- Ron Benjamin, Yitzhak Gelerenter, Shani Louk and Amit Buskila -- were recovered last week.

Another protest, calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and an early election, was held nearby.

Israel says 121 captives are still being held in Gaza, including 37 the army says are dead.

Israel's war on Gaza has killed at least 35,903 Palestinians, mostly women and children, according to Gaza health officials.

The bloodiest Gaza war erupted on October 7 after Hamas launched a surprise offensive into southern Israel.

The ensuing chaos and a frantic Israeli defence response led to 1,170 deaths, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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