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32 captives held by Hamas killed in Israeli bombings in Gaza

Smoke billows during Israeli bombardment in Rafah on the southern Gaza Strip on February 6, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

A US report says 32 captives held by the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas in the Gaza Strip have been killed in Israeli bombings as the occupying regime continues its brutal war on the besieged territory.

Citing a document compiled by Israeli intelligence officers, the New York Times reported on Tuesday that 32 of the 136 captives held by Hamas have died since Israel began its bombing campaign against Gaza in early October.

Israel's chief military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said on Tuesday that 31 of them were pronounced dead.

The daily newspaper, citing four military sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, reported that Israel is also assessing unconfirmed intelligence indicating that at least 20 other captives may have also been killed by the bombings.

The Israeli military also told the New York Times that it was “deploying all available resources to locate and retrieve as much information as possible” regarding the captives currently held by Hamas.

The latest development comes as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is on a tour in the region, purportedly seeking a new deal on a truce and the release of captives.

Back in November, Hamas and Israel reached an agreement with Israel on a temporary ceasefire in Gaza.

Under the prisoner swap deal, which was mediated by Qatar and Egypt, during the four-day truce in Gaza, at least 50 Israeli captives were expected to be freed. In exchange, 150 Palestinian prisoners were to be released, all women and children.

Hamas has already said any ceasefire deal in Gaza must entail the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces and the lifting of the regime’s blockade of the territory.

Israel waged its brutal war on besieged Gaza on October 7 after Hamas carried out an unprecedented operation against the occupying entity in retaliation for its intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

So far, the Tel Aviv regime has killed at least 27,585 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injured 67,000 others.

Israel has imposed a “complete siege” on the densely-populated territory, cutting off fuel, electricity, food, and water to the more than two million Palestinians living there.

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