Israel says one-third of remaining hostages presumed dead

Israel revealed on Tuesday that more than a third of the remaining hostages in Gaza are presumed dead, according to a government tally. This disclosure comes as the United States seeks to facilitate their recovery under a proposal aimed at de-escalating the ongoing war with Hamas.

Of the approximately 250 individuals taken into Gaza by Hamas-led Palestinian gunmen during the October 7 cross-border attack that ignited the conflict, scores have been freed during a November truce, while others have been recovered—either dead or alive—by Israeli forces.

The government tally reports that 120 hostages remain in captivity, with 43 declared dead in absentia by Israeli officials. This determination is based on a range of information sources, including intelligence reports, CCTV footage, bystander videos, and forensic analysis. Some officials have privately suggested that the actual number of deceased hostages could be higher.

Hamas, which initially threatened to execute hostages in response to Israeli air strikes, has since claimed that some hostages were killed by these attacks. While Israel has acknowledged this possibility in certain cases, it has also noted that some recovered hostage bodies exhibited signs of execution.

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

U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday publicly supported an Israeli proposal to wind down the war, which includes a preliminary ceasefire during which some hostages would be released.

However, mediated efforts to finalize this deal have stalled. Israel is adamant about eventually resuming its campaign to dismantle Hamas, while the Palestinian Islamist group demands a guaranteed end to the conflict and the withdrawal of all invading forces.

Scroll to Top