Desperate families of hostages held by Hamas urge Israel to agree to ‘anyone-for-anyone’ prisoner swap
- Two Britons are among those held in Gaza, and four hostages have been released so far
The desperate families of hostages held by Hamas have urged Israel to agree to an “anyone-for-anyone” prisoner swap.
Relatives concerned about Israel’s escalating attacks in Gaza demanded knowledge of the government’s plans for the rescue of their loved ones during a tense meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Israeli army confirmed yesterday that 239 hostages were believed to have been taken during the attack on southern Israel on October 7.
Israel has since launched an intense bombardment of Gaza, raising fears for the safety of the hostages, many of whom are believed to be held in Hamas’ tunnel network.
Pictured: Yocheved Lifshitz and Nurit Cooper – also known as Nurit Yitzhak – who were held hostage by Palestinian Hamas militants are released on Monday
A spokesperson for the terrorist group has claimed that it is willing to release all hostages if Israel releases all Palestinian prisoners.
According to the Palestinian Prisoners Club advocacy group, there are an estimated 5,200 Palestinians in Israeli prisons.
Meirav Leshem Gonen, the mother of Romi Gonen, 23, who was kidnapped from the dance music festival Supernova, said: ‘We spoke bluntly and made it clear to the Prime Minister… ‘everyone’ principle is a deal that the families would consider and which the support has of all Israel.”
She said families went to the meeting with “an unequivocal demand” that Israeli plans for military action should outweigh the “well-being of our loved ones.”
Benjamin Netanyahu (pictured) has said Israel is committed to freeing all hostages and that the expanding ground operation ‘will help us in this mission’
Posters featuring kidnapped Israeli Dafna Elyakim and Israeli-Argentinians Yuval and Ronan Engel are seen as people gather outside the Qatari embassy in London on October 29, 2023
Noam Alon, whose girlfriend Inbat Heiman was also taken from the festival, said freeing the hostages “should be the government’s priority.”
He told the BBC: ‘Israel must pay the ultimate price to bring them back. Israel abandoned them on October 7 and cannot do so again.”
Igal Sarusi, father of Almog Sarusi, said: “An everyone-for-all deal is acceptable and we hope it becomes a reality soon.”
Mr. Netanyahu has said Israel is committed to freeing all hostages and that the expanding ground operation “will help us in this mission.”
Two Britons are among those held in Gaza, while Hamas has so far released four hostages.