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ConflictsMiddle East

Israel-Hamas war: Hostage families hold 24-hour rally

Published January 14, 2024last updated January 14, 2024

Thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets calling for the release of hostages being held in Gaza by Hamas. They have also called for PM Netanyahu to resign.

People hold photos of hostages in Gaza during a rally to mark 100 days that the hostages have been held in captivity on January 14, 2024 in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Families of those still held hostage by Hamas have been demonstrating regularly in Tel Aviv at weekends, but rarely for a full day without interruptionImage: Amir Levy/Getty Images
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

  • Israelis rally in Tel Aviv, calling for the release of hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza
  • French President Emmanuel Macron calls for fresh talks to free hostages
  • UN humanitarian official calls for cease-fire in Gaza

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Skip next section Israel detains sisters of slain Hamas leader
January 14, 2024

Israel detains sisters of slain Hamas leader

Israeli forces on Sunday arrested Dalal and Fatima Arouri, sisters of slain Hamas terror leader Saleh Arouri, along with several other family members.

Israel claimed that Saleh Arouri had helped plan Hamas' deadly October 7 attack on southern Israel. He was killed in a suspected Israeli drone strike in a suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, on January 2.

The women were arrested at two different West Bank locations. Israeli authorities said they were guilty of inciting "terrorism against the state of Israel."

According to the the Palestinian Prisoners' Club, a Palestinian advocacy group, Israel has arrested 5,875 Palestinians in the West Bank since October 7.

Skip next section Israeli forces kill 3 in separate West Bank incidents
January 14, 2024

Israeli forces kill 3 in separate West Bank incidents

Israeli soldiers killed three Palestinians in the occupied West Bank on Sunday according to Israeli and Palestinian authorities.

In Hebron, two men were shot dead after they crashed their car through a checkpoint barrier. An Israeli army statement said troops had, "fired toward the terrorists and neutralized them." 

The statement claimed a, "rifle used by the terrorists, an axe and ammunition were found at the scene."

Palestinian authorities confirmed the incident and the regional Red Crescent said they had received the men's bodies. 

In Jericho, a teenage boy was shot in the chest and killed as the Israeli army sought to arrest a suspect during operations in a refugee camp.

Tensions in the West Bank, which Israel has occupied since 1967, have increased since October 7, 2023. More than 341 people have been killed there, mainly in Israeli army operations, over the past 100 days.

Israel's Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency says Palestinian militants have killed at least 41 people during that same time.

Skip next section Gaza authorities say 125 people killed in past 24 hours
January 14, 2024

Gaza authorities say 125 people killed in past 24 hours

The total number confirmed to have been killed in Gaza since the start of the war has increased to 23,968, with 125 people having been killed and 265 wounded during the previous day, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry.

The ministry said it had recorded more than 60,000 wounded in Gaza since fighting erupted following Hamas' October 7 terror attack on Israel.

Gaza's Health Ministry does not distinguish between civilian and combatant casualties. Israel sometimes questions the trustworthiness of the figures, given Hamas' influence over Gaza's Health Ministry, but the UN and other observers have said the figures proved generally reliable in the past.

Hamas is classified as a terrorist organization by the US, EU, Israel and others.

Israel-Hamas war: 100 days and no end in sight

Skip next section Cross-border missile strike leaves 2 Israelis dead
January 14, 2024

Cross-border missile strike leaves 2 Israelis dead

Two civilians were killed in northern Israel when a missile fired from Lebanon struck a house, the Israeli military said. 

Earlier on Sunday, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said its troops killed four gunmen who came across the border and "fired at the forces."

There have been regular exchanges of fire between the IDF and Hamas ally Hezbollah since the terror attack on Israel on October 7, albeit still on a much smaller scale than the fighting in Gaza. 

Hamas, and Hezbollah's military wing are considered terrorist groups by several countries, including the US, as well as by the European Union.

Skip next section China, Egypt call for cease-fire in Gaza amid Red Sea tensions
January 14, 2024

China, Egypt call for cease-fire in Gaza amid Red Sea tensions

China and Egypt are concerned about the expansion of the conflict in the Middle East, the countries' foreign affairs ministers said Sunday.

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi met his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry in Cairo.

In a joint statement afterwards, they said they are closely following developments in the Red Sea.

They made the remarks in the wake of US-UK air strikes on Houthi rebel positions in Yemen on Friday and another US strike on Saturday. 

The two ministers also called for a cease-fire in Gaza and urged an immediate end "to all acts of violence, killing and targeting of civilians and civilian establishments." 

The top Chinese diplomat added, "it is necessary to insist on the establishment of an independent, fully sovereign state of Palestine on the 1967 borders, with east Jerusalem as its capital."

Skip next section Former German colony Namibia condemns Germany's support for Israel
January 14, 2024

Former German colony Namibia condemns Germany's support for Israel

The southern African state of Namibia has condemned Germany's reaction to the accusations of genocide brought against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Berlin had rejected genocide claims put forward by South Africa as a "political instrumentalization" of the UN Genocide Convention with "no basis in fact."

Namibia, which was ruled as a German colony between 1884 and 1915, released a statement on Saturday lamenting "Germany's inability to draw lessons from its horrific history."

Germany carried out a genocide against the Herero and Nama people of Namibia between 1904 and 1908, generally considered to be the first genocide of the 20th century.

The German government officially recognized the genocide in May 2021 and pledged over €1.1 billion ($1.2 billion) in development aid over 30 years.

On Friday, Berlin said that it "decisively and expressly" rejected the emergency case brought to the UN court by South Africa which has asked the court to demand an immediate cease-fire on the grounds of genocide accusations against Palestinians. Israel has also vehemently denied South Africa's claims, insisting its Gaza offensive was part of its defense against Hamas militants in response the October 7 attack which killed 1,200 people. Hamas, is classified by the US, EU and others as a terrorist organization.

In turn, Namibian President Hage Geingob described the South African indictment as "morally upright" and said Germany was "ignoring" the death toll in Gaza, which has now surpassed 23,000. In the Saturday statement, Geingob urged Germany to reconsider its third-party intervention on behalf of Israel before the ICJ.

Skip next section IDF kills 4 militants attempting to cross into Israel from Lebanon
January 14, 2024

IDF kills 4 militants attempting to cross into Israel from Lebanon

Israeli troops killed four gunmen attempting to infiltrate Israel from Lebanon, the military said on Sunday.

The soldiers were patrolling in Har Dov around the disputed Shebaa Farms area when they "identified a terrorist cell who crossed from Lebanon into Israeli territory and fired at the forces, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said.

"The soldiers engaged and responded with live fire" using artillery and mortar rounds, according to the IDF.

Since Hamas' October 7 attack on Israel, there has been exchanges of fire between Iran-backed Hezbollah militants and Israeli forces at the Israel-Lebanon border almost daily. Hamas is deemed a terrorist organization by Israel, the US, and the EU among others.

Meanwhile, also on Sunday, Israel said its forces killed at least nine Palestinian militants during operations in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis and areas further north.

Skip next section Thousands rally calling for release of hostages
January 14, 2024

Thousands rally calling for release of hostages

The families of hostages held by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip kicked off a 24-hour rally in Tel Aviv, calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to bring their loved ones home.

Thousands of people took part in the demonstrations in Tel Aviv.

The crowds carried a massive banner that read: "And the world remains silent," and chanted that the hostages must be released "Now, now, now."

The rally took place on the eve of the 100th day of their captivity.

A man holds a sign calling for the release of the hostages taken by Hamas militants into the Gaza Strip during a demonstration at the Hostages Square in Tel Aviv
Many in Israel want the government to prioritize bringing the hostages homeImage: Leo Correa/AP/picture alliance

Hamas and other Gaza militants captured some 250 people during its deadly October 7 attack on southern Israel and killed 1,200 people, most of them civilians.

Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by several countries, including Israel, Germany and the United States.

While around 100 hostages were released during a temporary truce in November, 132 remain held in Gaza, including the remains of about two dozen who died or were killed.

There hasn't been much progress toward a new deal to release hostages.

Their families want the government to prioritize bringing the abductees home.

Some Israelis have accused Netanyahu of not doing enough toward this end and called for his resignation.

Israel defends itself against genocide charges

Skip next section Macron calls for fresh talks to free Gaza hostages
January 14, 2024

Macron calls for fresh talks to free Gaza hostages

French President Emmanuel Macron called for fresh talks for the release of the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.

"The French nation is determined that... all the hostages of the October 7 terrorist attacks are freed," he said in a video posted online and broadcast at a meeting in Tel Aviv in support of the hostages.

"France does not abandon its children," he added. "That is why we have to resume negotiations again and again for their release."

Three French citizens remain unaccounted for following the October 7 attack. They are thought to be among the hostages held in Gaza.

On December 15, the Israeli army announced the death of Franco-Israeli Elya Toledano, who was captured and abducted while attending a desert rave party.

His friend, fellow French-Israeli Mia Shem, was among those released under a truce agreement at the end of November.

Israeli families campaign for safe return of Gaza hostages

Skip next section Gaza misery 'staining our shared humanity,' UN says
January 14, 2024

Gaza misery 'staining our shared humanity,' UN says

The UN on Saturday decried the humanitarian situation in Gaza as fighting there has now continued for almost 100 days.

The war first broke out on October 7, when Hamas carried out terror attacks on Israel, killing about 1,140 people, mostly civilians.

The militant outfit also took around 250 hostages, 132 of whom Israel says remain in Gaza, including at least 25 believed to have been killed.

Hamas is designated as a terrorist group by the US, Germany and several other countries. 

In response to the October 7 attacks, Israel launched a military operation targeting Hamas in Gaza. 

The chief of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, Philippe Lazzarini, said during a trip to Gaza that the "massive death, destruction, displacement, hunger, loss and grief of the last 100 days are staining our shared humanity." 

While decrying the "horrific attacks that Hamas and other groups carried out against people in Israel," Lazzarini also noted the "largest displacement of the Palestinian people since 1948."

Necessities run low in Gaza's refugee camps

He said due to the war, many Palestinians "will carry lifelong scars, both physical and psychological. The vast majority, including children, are deeply traumatized.  

"People live inhuman conditions, where diseases are spreading, including among children," Lazzarini said. "They live thorough the unlivable, with the clock ticking fast towards famine."  

Lazzarini said a "humanitarian cease-fire is still not in place to stop the killing of people in Gaza and enable the safe delivery of food, medicine, water and shelter."

"It is time we restore the value of human life," he concluded.   

sri/sms (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)