Highlights

  • Israeli protesters set up tents in Tel Aviv
  • Urge Israeli government to deal with Hamas for hostage release
  • Hamas has denied release of more hostages until the war ends

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Protests set up tents in Tel Aviv for hostage return; Hamas rules out fresh mediation

Israeli protesters set up tents in Tel Aviv with a demand from Israeli government to put a deal on the table for secure release of hostages held by Hamas. 

Protests set up tents in Tel Aviv for hostage return; Hamas rules out fresh mediation

Protesters set up tents outside the Kirya in Tel Aviv on Saturday, with the intention of staying until the Israeli government puts an offer on the table to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas militants.

Israel pressed ahead with its Gaza offensive on Sunday after a series of shootings, including of three hostages who were shirtless and waving a white flag.

The shooting incidents have raised questions about Israel's conduct in the 10-week-old war that has brought unprecedented death and destruction to the coastal enclave.

Israel has continued to strike what it says are militant targets in all parts of Gaza.

It has vowed to continue operations until it dismantles Hamas, which triggered the war with its October 7 attack into southern Israel, in which militants killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians.

Israel has also vowed to return the roughly 129 hostages still held in Gaza.

The offensive has killed more than 18,700 Palestinians, the Health Ministry in the Hamas-run territory said Thursday.

It has not been able to update the toll since then because of the communications blackout and has said for weeks that thousands more casualties are buried under the rubble.

The ministry does not differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths, but throughout the war has said that most of those killed were women and children.

The plight of Palestinian civilians has gotten little attention inside Israel, where many are still deeply traumatised by the October 7 attack and where support for the war remains strong.

But anger over the mistaken killing of the hostages is likely to ramp up pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to renew Qatar-mediated negotiations with Hamas over swapping more of the remaining captives for Palestinians imprisoned in Israel.

Hamas has said there will be no further hostage releases until the war ends.

Hamas released over 100 of more than 240 hostages captured on Oct. 7 in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners during a brief cease-fire in November.

Nearly all freed on both sides were women and minors. Israel has successfully rescued one hostage.

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