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Destruction in Gaza: "Reliable Information" on the Deaths of Several Hostages


Mohammed Hajjar / dpa

The Israeli army confirmed on Friday the deaths of five hostages abducted to the Gaza Strip by the terrorist organization Hamas. The relatives have been informed and the body of a hostage has been returned to Israel, army spokesman Daniel Hagari said.

In recent days, the army and police have informed the families of the hostages Eliyahu Margalit, Maja Goren, Ronen Engel and Arje Zalmanovitz about their deaths on the basis of "reliable information," Hagari said. Israeli soldiers also returned the body of Ofir Tsarfati.

In a statement, it said that soldiers and members of the Shin Bet intelligence service had located Tsarfati's body in Gaza "in the past few days" and brought him to Israel for burial. His family was informed on Wednesday. Tsarfati had been attending a rave party near the Gaza Strip when hundreds of Hamas fighters invaded Israel on October 7 and committed atrocities mostly against civilians.

During the seven-day ceasefire, which ended on Friday morning, 110 hostages were released in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, according to the authorities.

Israel's army, meanwhile, said it had attacked 200 targets in the Gaza Strip since the ceasefire ended. The attacks by the ground, air and naval forces were carried out in the north and south of the sealed coastal area, the military said on Friday. According to the report, targets in the cities of Khan Yunis and Rafah in the south were also attacked.

According to the army, areas covered with booby-traps were targeted, as well as shafts of Hamas tunnels, launch pads and command centers.

White House: Aid deliveries are likely to resume

Meanwhile, aid deliveries, which have been interrupted since the end of the ceasefire, could soon resume – albeit on a smaller scale than before. The White House said on Friday that it expects Israel to allow trucks carrying humanitarian aid to enter. The country, at the urging of the United States, has agreed to allow truck shipments to pass through again, said the National Security Council's communications director, John Kirby.

However, the number of trips is likely to be limited to a few dozen per day, rather than the hundreds of trucks that entered the Gaza Strip every day during the ceasefire. According to Palestinian and Egyptian sources, no aid has arrived in the blockaded coastal strip since the resumption of hostilities.