Hamas Threatens to Kill All Remaining Hostages If Demands Not Met

Wim De Gent
By Wim De Gent
December 11, 2023World News
Hamas Threatens to Kill All Remaining Hostages If Demands Not Met
Yocheved Lifshitz (C), who was released by Hamas after 16 days in captivity, attends a protest with others holding signs showing portraits of other Israeli hostages held in Gaza since the Oct. 7 attacks during a demonstration calling for their release outside the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, now informally called the "Hostages Square," in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Dec. 9, 2023. (Marco Longari/AFP via Getty Images)

Hamas on Sunday threatened to kill all of the remaining hostages if its demands are not met, after Israel touted significant gains in its ground offensive against the terrorist group.

Over the weekend the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said its air force had destroyed 3,500 Hamas targets since the end of the recent ceasefire, bringing the total amount of “terror targets” hit in the Gaza Strip to 22,000 since the beginning of the war. The IDF says that approximately 7,000 Hamas fighters have been killed, including half of its battalion leaders.

However, a spokesman for Hamas, Abu Obeida, claimed that not a single hostage will leave Gaza alive unless Israel agrees to all of its demands, which includes more aid for the population of Gaza and the release of more Palestinian prisoners.

“Neither the fascist enemy and its arrogant leadership … nor its supporters … can take their prisoners alive without an exchange and negotiation and meeting the demands of the resistance,” Mr. Obeida said in a televised broadcast.

The ultimatum came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called on the Hamas terrorists to surrender.

“It will take more time, the war is in full swing, but this is the beginning of the end for Hamas,” he said in a statement. “I say to the Hamas terrorists: it is over. Don’t die for [Hamas leader Yahya] Sinwar. Surrender now.”

“In the past few days, dozens of Hamas terrorists have surrendered to our forces,” Netanyahu added.

According Mr. Netanyahu’s office, 20 of the 137 hostages that were previously believed to have been held hostage by Hamas are no longer alive. Family members of the hostages still in Gaza demanded their release during a demonstration in Tel Aviv on Saturday.

A series of aid and prisoner exchange deals agreed upon during the 7-day cease-fire in November led to the release of 100 hostages by Hamas, including a four-year-old U.S. girl, in exchange for 200 Palestinians from Israeli prisons.

During the cease-fire, Hamas released a video of a distressed Israeli father as they told him his family, including his two children—a ten-month-old baby and a 4-year-old boy—had died. Hamas claimed that the family was killed in an Israeli airstrike.

The clip showed the father in tears, apparently blaming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for their deaths. “You bombed my family. You killed my wife and children,” the man said.

The next day, on Dec. 1, the war resumed.

Israel-hamas War Enters Third Month
An explosion is seen in Gaza as viewed from Israel on Dec. 8, 2023. (Amir Levy/Getty Images)

Israel is facing rising international outrage for its approach to the conflict and the mounting numbers of civilian casualties, which Gazan health officials declare to be more than 17,700 people.

According to U.N. agencies, 1.9 million of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have been displaced—some 85 percent—with the entire area facing severe shortages of food, water, and medical assistance.

During a Sunday CNN interview, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged the Israeli’s to do more to avoid civilian casualties, suggesting that not enough had been done to date.

“The intent is there, but the results are not always manifesting themselves,” Mr. Blinken said, adding that Israel needs to incorporate lengthier pauses in its offensive to allow civilians to escape, and so that aid can better reach them.

“But Hamas has decisions to make, too,” Mr. Blinken said. “It could get out from hiding behind civilians tomorrow. It could put down its arms tomorrow. It could surrender tomorrow, and this would be over.”

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