Britain, Germany call on Hamas to release hostages

People stand in front of a wall with posters in support of hostages who were kidnapped during the deadly Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 23, 2024.[VOA]

Western diplomats called Tuesday for Hamas to release the remaining hostages it is holding in the Gaza Strip, as they marked 200 days since the Hamas attack on Israel.

“200 days ago, Hamas carried out the deadliest attack on the Jewish people since the Holocaust,” British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said on X. “200 days on, hostages remain in captivity, and their loved ones continue to face unimaginable suffering.”

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said: "As long as the hostages are not free, we will not let up. Only when they are home will peace have a chance."

Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking 250 hostages according to Israeli tallies. Israel says the militants are still holding about 100 captives and the remains of more than 30 others.

Israel’s response, a military campaign it says it aimed at eliminating Hamas and ensuring the U.S. designated terror group cannot carry out a future attack, has killed at least 34,183 Palestinians and injured more than 77,000 others, according to the Gaza health ministry. The ministry says women and children account for two-thirds of those killed.

The United States said Monday that Hamas has not agreed to a “very significant proposal that was on the table” for a halt in fighting, the release of hostages held in Gaza, the release of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel and an increase in humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters that in recent weeks, Israel has moved somewhat to meet Hamas demands in negotiations, only to have Hamas then change those demands.

“It takes two to agree, and right now Hamas has signalled that they don’t want an agreement,” Miller said.

The Israeli military said Tuesday its forces conducted airstrikes overnight that destroyed two Hamas rocket launch positions in the southern Gaza Strip.

Ground forces also continued operating in central Gaza, while airstrikes killed dozens of militants throughout Gaza, the military said.

Israeli forces killed at least two Hezbollah fighters in a series of strikes on Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon, the military said Tuesday. It shared a video on social media showing a strike blowing up a car as it drove down a road.

Lebanese state media said an apparent Israeli strike on a car in the Adloun area killed at least one person.


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