Hamas Threatens to Execute Hostages

(LibertyInsider.org) — Hamas’s surprise attack on Israel on the morning of October 7 set off a chain of clashes that have killed over 1,500 people and wounded countless others. According to The New York Times, the militant group also seized at least 150 hostages during the conflict. Israel swiftly announced a “complete siege” on the Gaza Strip, conducting airstrikes and cutting off access to food, fuel, and other supplies. Now, Hamas is threatening to execute the hostages if the Israeli Air Force doesn’t stand down.

Abu Ubaida, a spokesperson for Hamas’ Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, reportedly told Shehab News that “any targeting of [Palestinian] people in the safety of their homes, without warning, will be met with the execution of civilian hostages.” Ubaida also warned that the group would broadcast the killings on audio and video.

It isn’t yet clear whether the hostages hail from Israel or a mix of foreign and domestic locations. President Joe Biden did confirm on Monday morning that at least 11 Americans were killed in the clash. However, he also warned that Hamas was likely holding other US citizens somewhere in the region.
Hamas likely captured at least some of the hostages during an attack on a music festival in the Negev Desert. Armed paragliders descended at around 7 a.m., closely followed by trucks full of foot soldiers. IDF forces did manage to subdue the intruders eventually, but militants killed at least 160 people. Tens more are still missing.

According to Al Jazeera, IDF jets have targeted mosques, hospitals, and civilian homes with airstrikes over the past few days. Medical teams have also complained about being unable to access the region to provide humanitarian aid.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu officially declared war on Palestinian militants shortly after the initial attack began. IDF Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari claimed that it had officially pacified the border on October 10, noting that “not a single terrorist entered via the fence” since the previous day.

Unfortunately, the brief reprieve in fighting along the border isn’t necessarily evidence that the conflict is about to come to an end. Rescue and humanitarian efforts continue despite ongoing interference from both sides. Human Rights Watch is calling Israel’s blockade on the region a war crime. However, it was equally critical of Hamas’ threat to execute hostages and called for complete unconditional release.

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