People seen in a crowd wearing orange tshirts
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Israeli hostages released from Gaza spoke publicly on Saturday for the first time and urged their government to secure the release of the remaining captives held in the war-torn Palestinian territory.
The hostages, most of whom were freed during a , spoke in a video broadcast before a crowd of thousands at a rally in central Tel Aviv.
In the brief interviews, four women who were held by Hamas related the fear, hunger, and sleeplessness of their captivity after being taken hostage during the Palestinian militant group’s 7 October attacks.
“Our daughters saw things that children at that age – or of any age – don’t need to see,” said Danielle Aloni, 45, who was released last week along with her five-year-old daughter.

“The food wasn’t plentiful to start with, and as time passed, the food dwindled,” said 84-year-old Ditza Heiman, who was released Tuesday.

People seen in a crowd wearing orange tshirts

Relatives and friends of hostages held in the Gaza Strip by Hamas rallied in Tel Aviv, Israel on Saturday night. Source: AP / Ariel Schalit

The freed hostages urged the Netanyahu government to take all action necessary to secure the remaining captives’ release.

Yocheved Lifschitz, 85, who was released by Hamas in October, outside the parameters of the truce deal, said “the moral obligation of this government is to bring them home immediately, without hesitation”.
Their comments came a day after the that saw the release of 80 Israeli hostages, mostly women and children, in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners over the course of a week.
Israeli troops renewed fighting in the Gaza Strip Friday morning.
Speaking at the rally Yelena Trupanov, who was released Wednesday, told the crowd assembled outside the Tel Aviv Art Museum that “we must return my Sasha and the rest,” referring to her son, still held in Gaza.

Trupanov, 50, had appeared in a hostage video disseminated by Hamas in the weeks after the attacks.

According to Israeli tallies, Hamas fighters killed 1,200 people and seized about 240 hostages when they burst across the border fence into southern Israel on 7 October.
In response to that attack, Israel has vowed to destroy the Hamas militants who run Gaza, raining bombs and shells on the enclave and launching a ground offensive in the north.
To date, more than 15,000 people, roughly 40 per cent of them children, have been killed, Palestinian health authorities said.

Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari said Saturday that 137 Israelis and foreign nationals remained captive in the Gaza Strip.

US VP calls for restraint

US Vice President Kamala Harris says too many innocent Palestinians have been killed in Gaza as Israeli warplanes and artillery bombarded the enclave following the collapse of a truce with Hamas militants.

The Gaza health ministry said at least 193 Palestinians had been killed and 650 wounded since the truce ended on Friday morning.

Speaking in Dubai, Harris said Israel had a right to defend itself but international and humanitarian law must be respected and “too many innocent Palestinians have been killed”.
“Frankly, the scale of civilian suffering, and the images and videos coming from Gaza, are devastating,” Harris told reporters.
Mark Regev, a senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Israel did not want to see Gaza’s civilians caught in the crossfire.
“Israel is targeting Hamas, a brutal terrorist organisation that has committed the most horrific violence against innocent civilians. Israel is making a maximum effort to safeguard Gaza’s civilians,” Regev said.

He said that when the war was over, Israel would seek a “security envelope” with special zones and arrangements to prevent Hamas from being positioned on its border.

A man leading an injured woman in a hospital corridor

Palestinians injured in Israeli airstrikes arrive at Nasser Medical Hospital on 1 December in Khan Yunis, Gaza. Source: Getty / Ahmad Hasaballah

On Saturday, Israel recalled a team from Qatar, host of indirect negotiations with Hamas, accusing the Palestinian faction of reneging on a deal to free all the women and children it was holding.

The deputy head of Hamas, however, said no prisoners would be exchanged with Israel unless there is a ceasefire and all Palestinian detainees in Israel are released.

Saleh Al-Arouri told al-Jazeera TV that Israeli hostages held by Hamas are soldiers and civilian men who previously served in the army.

, which has gained power in the Gaza Strip since winning legislative elections there in 2006. Its stated aim is to establish a Palestinian state, while refusing to recognise Israel’s right to exist.

Hamas, in its entirety, is designated as a terrorist organisation by countries including Australia, Canada, the UK and the US. New Zealand and Paraguay list only its military wing as a terrorist group. In 2018, the United Nations General Assembly voted against a resolution condemning Hamas in its entirety as a terrorist organisation.

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