Number of people held hostage by Hamas rises to 212

Tel Aviv, Oct 22 (UNI) The number of people held hostage by Hamas in the Gaza Strip has again increased to 212 despite efforts by a number of countries to ensure exchange of hostages and prisoners between the Palestinian movement and Israel, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman Daniel Hagari said on Sunday.

On Saturday, the confirmed number of hostages stood at 210 after two US citizens, who also have Israeli citizenship, were released from captivity the day before.

“To date, we have notified the families of 212 abducted people and 307 deceased IDF soldiers,” Hagari told a press briefing.

The IDF also said 27 Hamas members had been arrested in the West Bank overnight, the Times of Israel newspaper reported. Since the beginning of the conflict, a total of 727 wanted Palestinians, including over 480 allegedly affiliated with Hamas, have been detained by Israeli forces, the newspaper reported.

On October 7, Palestinian group Hamas launched a surprise large-scale rocket attack against Israel from the Gaza Strip and breached the border, killing and seizing people in neighboring Israeli communities. Israel launched retaliatory strikes and ordered a complete blockade of the Gaza Strip, home to more than 2 million people, cutting off supplies of water, food and fuel. The blockade was later eased to allow trucks with humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip. The escalation of the conflict has resulted in thousands of people killed and injured on both sides.

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