Hundreds of Israelis protest to demand hostage swap deal: Reports

Hundreds of Israelis protest to demand hostage swap deal: Reports

Rally held in Rehovot near Tel Aviv, says Israeli media

By Said Amori

JERUSALEM (AA) - Hundreds of Israelis demonstrated Saturday in Rehovot near Tel Aviv to demand the release of hostages held in the Gaza Strip, an Israeli media outlet reported.

The protest occurred near Rehovot Science Park and also demanded early elections, according to the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.

It said some families of the hostages in Gaza participated in the demonstration.

It is expected that the intensity of protests will increase, encompassing all of Israel.

Tel Aviv believes 134 Israelis are being held in Gaza, while Israel is holding 9,000 Palestinians in its jails.

Israel has killed more than 34,600 Palestinians since an Oct. 7 cross-border attack by Hamas in which less than 1,200 Israelis were killed and around 250 hostages taken.

A deal in November saw the release of 81 Israelis and 24 foreigners in exchange for 240 Palestinians, including 71 women and 169 children.

The US, Qatar and Egypt have tried to broker an agreement to release the remaining Israeli captives.

The conflict has pushed 85% of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, which in January issued an interim ruling that ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

*Writing by Rania Abu Shamala

Hundreds of Israelis protest to demand hostage swap deal: Reports

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