1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Israel: Hamas threatens to execute civilian hostages

Published October 9, 2023last updated October 10, 2023

Israel has said that Hamas has more than 100 Israeli captives located in Gaza. Meanwhile, the Israeli defense minister says authorities will block food and fuel from entering the Gaza Strip. Follow DW for more.

Israeli soldiers prepare munitions close to the border with Gaza
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel will defeat Hamas with "enormous force"Image: Ilia Yefimovich/dpa
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

  • Israel's army says it is mobilizing 300,000 reservists
  • Israeli defense minister announces complete siege of Gaza
  • At least 800 are reported killed in Israel and more than 680 in Gaza
  • Hamas rocket fire, Israeli airstrikes continue into third day of fighting
  • The EU and Germany have suspended aid payments to Palestinians
  • Hamas said it will start executing civilian hostages in retaliation to Israeli strikes
Skip next section Hezbollah and Israel exchange fire
October 10, 2023

Hezbollah and Israel exchange fire

This live updates article has been closed. For the lastest on the fighting in Israel and Gaza, please click here.

Lebanese-based Hezbollah fired a salvo of rockets and mortars into northern Israel on Monday after the militant group said at least three of its members were killed in Israeli shelling.

Hezbollah said in a statement it had fired upon two Israeli military posts in the Galilee region.

The Israeli military, meanwhile, said it identified a number of "launches" from Lebanon into Israel, without any injuries. It said it was responding with artillery fire towards Lebanon.

The exchange of fire comes after Israel earlier shelled southern Lebanon following a cross-border raid claimed by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, which says it has been fighting alongside Hamas since it launched an attack on Israel on Saturday.

Iran-backed Hezbollah — listed as a terrorist organization by Germany, the US and the Arab League, among others — had denied any involvement in the earlier cross-border raid.

Skip next section US working with Israel on 'hostage recovery efforts'
October 10, 2023

US working with Israel on 'hostage recovery efforts'

President Joe Biden said the United States was working with Israel on "hostage recovery efforts."

In a statement after meeting with his national security team at the White House, Biden said he believed Hamas militants may be holding American hostages among the people they brought from Israel into Gaza.

"I have directed my team to work with their Israeli counterparts on every aspect of the hostage crisis, including sharing intelligence and deploying experts from across the United States government to consult with and advise Israeli counterparts on hostage recovery efforts," Biden said. 

According to Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, Hamas is holding more than 100 people hostage. 

The militant group threatened to kill the captives if the Israeli military bombed Palestinian areas "without prior warning."

Israel's Cohen warned Hamas against harming hostages, saying it would amount to a war crime that "will not be forgiven."

Skip next section Germany to continue humanitarian aid to Palestinians
October 9, 2023

Germany to continue humanitarian aid to Palestinians

Germany will continue to provide humanitarian aid for people in the Palestinian Territories, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said.

"I think it would be fatal to simply say now that we should no longer provide food aid, for example," Baerbock was quoted by German press agency DPA as saying.

It comes after Development Minister Svenja Schulze said Sunday that Germany was reviewing hundreds of millions of euros of aid to the Palestinian territories.

On Monday, Baerbock made a distinction between development cooperation and humanitarian aid.

She said the German Foreign Office and other agencies are working with the United Nations and non-governmental aid groups to ensure no "direct payments to the Palestinian Authority."

She noted, however, that 2.1 million people in the Palestinian territories rely on food aid.

Skip next section Netanyahu says Israel has 'only started' offensive in Gaza
October 9, 2023

Netanyahu says Israel has 'only started' offensive in Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned Hamas that Israel has "only started" its offensive in the Gaza Strip.

"What we will do to our enemies in the coming days will reverberate with them for generations," he said in a nationalized television address.

He also called on the opposition to form a unity government.

"I call on opposition leaders to immediately form an emergency government of national unity without any preconditions," Netanyahu said.

Opposition figures already expressed that they were considering a unity government but with conditions such as limiting the government's role to strategic issues only.

The prime minister also compared Hamas to the so-called "Islamic State" (IS, or sometimes ISIS) terrorist group and its extreme acts of violence across Syria, Iraq and numerous other countries.

"The atrocities committed by Hamas have not been seen since ISIS atrocities," he said in his address.

Skip next section Lack of unity behind EU decision to suspend Palestinian aid
October 9, 2023

Lack of unity behind EU decision to suspend Palestinian aid

The European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Janez Lenarcic, said humanitarian aid to Palestinians will continue, contradicting a statement made by his colleague earlier in the day.

"While I most strongly condemn the terrorist attack by Hamas, it is imperative to protect civilians," he wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter, adding that it was also important to follow international humanitarian law.


His statement comes hours after Oliver Varhelyi, the EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, said the bloc had placed development aid to Palestinians worth €691 million under review and immediately suspended all payments.

Varhelyi's announcement came as a surprise to some EU member states.

Spain's Foreign Ministry has called for an urgent discussion during an EU foreign ministers meeting on Tuesday.

Ireland, meanwhile, questioned the legitimacy of the decision.

"Our understanding is that there is no legal basis for a unilateral decision of this kind by an individual commissioner and we do not support a suspension of aid," a foreign ministry spokesman said. 

The European Commission later said it was launching a review of its assistance for the Palestinian territories. 

"In the meantime, as there were no payments foreseen, there will be no suspension of payments," the Commission said in a statement.

Skip next section Scholz, Macron to speak with Biden and Sunak about the situation in Israel
October 9, 2023

Scholz, Macron to speak with Biden and Sunak about the situation in Israel

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the war between Israel and Hamas should not lead to a "conflagration" and "no one should further fuel terror in this situation."

He was hosting French President Emmanuel Macron in Hamburg for a meeting between the German and French governments, which was overshadowed by the Hamas militants' attacks on Israel. 

The two European leaders said they stood firmly by Israel's side.

"Terror will not win, hate will not triumph," Scholz said, with Macron promising "full support and solidarity for Israel." 

The leaders said they planned to hold talks with US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak later in the evening.

"The United States, Britain, France and Germany are united," Scholz said.

Skip next section Hamas threatens to execute civilian hostages
October 9, 2023

Hamas threatens to execute civilian hostages

Palestinian Islamist group Hamas has threatened to execute Israeli civilian hostages for every Israeli strike that hits civilian targets in Gaza without warning.

"We have decided to put an end to this, and as of now, we declare that any targeting of our people in their homes without prior warning will be regrettably faced with the execution of one the hostages of civilians we are holding," Hamas spokesperson Abu Obaida said.

Obaida said the Gaza Strip was under heavy bombardment on Monday.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said more than 100 people had been taken captive by Hamas during the deadly cross-border incursion over the weekend.

He warned Hamas against harming the hostages, saying, "This war crime will not be forgiven."

Skip next section Guterres 'deeply distressed' by Israel's plan for Gaza siege
October 9, 2023

Guterres 'deeply distressed' by Israel's plan for Gaza siege

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was 'deeply distressed' by Israel's announcement of a complete siege on the Gaza Strip.

"The humanitarian situation in Gaza was extremely dire before these hostilities. Now, it will only deteriorate exponentially," Guterres said.

"This most recent violence does not come in a vacuum," Guterres stressed. "The reality is that it grows out of a long-standing conflict, with a 56-year-long occupation and no political end in sight." 

"While I recognize Israel's legitimate security concerns, I also remind Israel that military operations must be conducted in strict accordance with international humanitarian law," Guterres said.

Earlier on Monday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant ordered a "complete siege" of Gaza.

Gallant said the new measures will cut electricity and include a ban on admitting food and fuel.

Guterres urged all sides to allow the UN access to deliver humanitarian aid to Palestinians trapped in Gaza. 

Skip next section Israeli woman fears for missing daughter and mother
October 9, 2023

Israeli woman fears for missing daughter and mother

Galit Dan, an Israeli woman, has recounted her terrifying ordeal of being trapped in a safe room in her house in the Kibbutz Kissufim for more than 20 hours after Hamas militants attacked Israel.

"A terrorist came into my home, tried to open the door. We were my boyfriend, me and my young daughter. We couldn't breathe. We didn't move. We were scared," she told DW. 

The gunman "just sat down in our [living room] with his gun and shot everybody who passed," she added.

Dan also exchanged frantic messages with her 80-year-old mother and her 12-year-old daughter, Noya, who were also under attack in nearby Kibbutz Nir Oz.

"I asked her, 'Did you lock the door?' She said 'yes'. But I know she couldn't because there's no way to lock the door. At 12 in the afternoon I lost contact with them."

Israeli woman fears for missing daughter and mother

Israeli army soldiers finally freed Dan and the other people from the safe room, but she didn't know what happened to her mother and daughter.

"It's also my nephews and the ex of my sister and a lot of people from the kibbutz Nir Oz. A lot of old people and also young people and babies."

She called on the international community to help and to do something to free the people kidnapped by Hamas. 

"I want the world to act, to do something: the UN, the Red Cross, somebody help us, please do something. If you can talk with Hamas, if you can talk with the soldiers and tell them to release the people, please, please do that."

Skip next section Hezbollah member killed in Israeli strike in Lebanon
October 9, 2023

Hezbollah member killed in Israeli strike in Lebanon

Israeli armored vehicles drive along a street near northern town of Kiryat Shmona close to the border with Lebanon on October 9, 2023
The conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants expanded to the Israeli-Lebanese borderImage: Jalaa Marey/AFP/Getty Images

The armed wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad — another militant Islamist group that often vies with Hamas for support and control — claimed responsibility for an incursion at the Lebanon-Israel border.

The Israel Defense Forces reported earlier that its troops had shot and killed several gunmen who crossed into the country.

"A report was received regarding the infiltration of a number of suspects into Israeli territory from Lebanese territory. IDF soldiers are deployed in the area," the military said.

Israel also intensified shelling of southern Lebanon in response to the incident.

A member of Hezbollah was killed in the Israeli strikes, a spokesperson for the group said.

However, Hezbollah officials denied any involvement in Monday's border incident. 

The Iran-backed group — listed as a terrorist organization by Germany, the US and the Arab League, among others — earlier praised Hamas for its unprecedented terror attack on Israel.

Israel beefs up security along Lebanese border

Skip next section 'If they hear us, they'll kill us,' festival survivor tells DW
October 9, 2023

'If they hear us, they'll kill us,' festival survivor tells DW

When Hamas militants attacked it early on Saturday, Omri Ben Shushan was among the people attending "Supernova," the dance music festival in southern Israel, near the Gaza Strip.

Initially, he was not worried when they heard rockets from Gaza and shrugged them off, thinking "this is a normal situation for us."

"After about an hour, they told us that the terrorists had entered Israel on jeeps with guns and rockets... and bombs, so we started running and trying to escape by car," Shushan told DW.

Gunfire started, "so we left the cars and started running across the fields, maybe 400 people, it was a terrible experience."

At least 260 bodies have been recovered so far at the festival's site.

Shushan described how he and his friends hid under a tree for more than six hours. 

"We just tried not to make a sound because we knew if they hear us, they'll kill us," he said, adding that an Israeli soldier eventually rescued them. 

Skip next section Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf's in-laws 'trapped' in Gaza
October 9, 2023

Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf's in-laws 'trapped' in Gaza

 Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf says his Palestinian in-laws have been caught up in the fighting between Hamas and Israel and are "trapped" in the Gaza Strip.

Yousaf, who in March became the first Muslim leader of a government in Western Europe, said that his wife's parents had recently traveled from Dundee in northeast Scotland to Gaza to visit relatives and were still there when Hamas launched its surprise attack on Israel.

"They've been in Gaza and are currently trapped in Gaza, I'm afraid," he told reporters. "Despite the best efforts of the British Foreign Office, nobody, nobody can guarantee them safe passage anywhere."

"I'm in a situation where, frankly, night by night, day by day, we don't know whether or not my mother-in-law and father-in-law, who have nothing, as most Gazans don't, to do with Hamas or with any terror attack ... will make it through the night or not," said Yousaf. "We cannot sleep. We are constantly watching our phones."

Yousaf condemned the Hamas attack and said his concerns would be mirrored by Scotland's Jewish community and their worries for families.

"Innocent civilians are paying the price," he added.

Skip next section Netanyahu: Israel's response will 'change the Middle East'
October 9, 2023

Netanyahu: Israel's response will 'change the Middle East'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that his country's response to the onslaught by Hamas will "change the Middle East," as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) targeted the Gaza Strip with air strikes.

"What Hamas will experience will be difficult and terrible ... we are going to change the Middle East," Netanyahu told officials in the south of Israel where Hamas militants carried out surprise terror attacks beginning on Saturday morning.

"This is only the beginning... we are all with you and we will defeat them with force, enormous force."

At least 560 people have been killed in the strikes on the Gaza Strip according to the enclave's Health Ministry.

Skip next section Egypt and Qatar launch mediation efforts
October 9, 2023

Egypt and Qatar launch mediation efforts

Egypt has been intensifying diplomatic efforts to bring about a de-escalation in the conflict between Israel and Hamas, communicating with both warring parties and with other regional powers, Egypt's presidential office said.

Since Sunday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, whose country has traditionally been a key mediator between Israel and the Palestinians, has spoken to President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates, King Abdullah II of Jordan and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, as well as European Council President Charles Michel, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Qatar's Foreign Ministry told Reuters that it is also involved in mediation talks with Hamas and Israeli officials, including over a potential prisoner swap which would see 36 Palestinian women and children released from Israeli prisons in exchange for Israeli women and children seized by Hamas and taken to Gaza this weekend.

However, a Hamas official in Doha, Qatar, told the AFP news agency that there was "no chance" of such negotiations.

"The military operation is still continuing," he said. "Our mission now is to make every effort to prevent the occupation from continuing to commit massacres against our people in Gaza, which directly target civilian homes."

Skip next section Lufthansa suspends flights to and from Israel
October 9, 2023

Lufthansa suspends flights to and from Israel

German airline Lufthansa announced on Monday the suspension of flights to and from Israel.

"Due to the ongoing unclear situation in Israel and after intensive analysis of the situation, Lufthansa has decided to suspend its regular flights to and from Tel Aviv up to and including Saturday [October 14th]," the airline said in its flight advisory for Israel.

"We regret having to make this decision," Lufthansa said, adding that it would continue to monitor the security situation and that it was in close communication with Israeli authorities.

Passengers impacted by the development were asked to contact the airline.

The first flights were canceled on Saturday when Hamas launched its attack from Gaza.

The German carrier was following decisions made by other airlines, such as France's Air France as well as American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines operating out of the US.

Show more posts