Home World Netanyahu: Gaza Hostage Deaths ‘Broke My Heart’, But Military Pressure ‘Necessary’

Netanyahu: Gaza Hostage Deaths ‘Broke My Heart’, But Military Pressure ‘Necessary’

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday that the army’s killing of three hostages in Gaza in a case of mistaken identity was heart-breaking, but “military pressure is necessary” to bring the other captives home.

“It broke my heart. It broke the whole nation’s heart,” he said of the deaths, while adding: “With all the deep sorrow, I want to clarify: the military pressure is necessary both for the return of the kidnapped and for achieving victory over our enemies.”

The news of their killing has sparked protests, with the relatives of the remaining hostages expressing concern their loved ones could be next and urging Netanyahu return to the negotiating table.

“We feel like we’re in a Russian roulette game (finding out) who will be next in line to be told the death of their loved one,” Ruby Chen, father of 19-year-old hostage and soldier Itai, said during an event Saturday evening.

“They explained to us first that the ground operation would bring back the abductees,” he added.

“It doesn’t work. Because since then, abductees have been seen returning, but not so much alive.”

Netanyahu, however, was adamant that military pressure was needed for negotiations to succeed.

“The guidance I give to the negotiations team is based on this pressure, and without it we have nothing,” he said.

Hamas said Saturday that it would not “open any negotiations to exchange prisoners unless the aggression against our people stops completely”.

The Palestinian militant group kidnapped around 250 hostages during its October 7 attack on Israel, which killed 1,139 people, according to official figures.

Israel’s retaliatory war has since killed more than 18,700 people, according to Gaza’s Hamas-run government.

Under a short-lived truce deal, more than 100 hostages were freed in exchange for Palestinians held in Israeli jails, but that deal has since lapsed and fighting has resumed.

The Israeli government has repeatedly stated that bringing home all of the hostages is one of its chief war aims.

str-smw/kir


 

 

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