The Israeli military announced Monday that 199 people are being held hostage in Gaza by Hamas and other Palestinian activists, more than previous estimates.
Admiral Daniel Hagari, an Israeli military spokesman, told reporters that the families of the hostages being held had been notified, the Associated Press reported. He did not say whether the latest number includes foreigners or who is responsible, but most are believed to be detained by Hamas – the armed group that infiltrated southern Israel more than a week ago.
Among the hostages, whose number is estimated at about 200, which is more than the previous estimate of 150 hostages, are children and the elderly.
Some of these hostages are also believed to be US citizens. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters last week that there was a “very small” number of Americans believed to be being held hostage, but he was not aware of evidence of their lives and could not provide details about their whereabouts or condition.
The State Department confirmed on Sunday that 30 American citizens were killed in the fighting. The administration also said that it is aware of the loss of 13 citizens, and officials are communicating with their families.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also warning Americans are advised not to travel to Gaza and Americans are asked to “reconsider” traveling to Israel and the West Bank.
Hamas launched its bloody attack more than a week ago, prompting Israel to declare war on the movement. Israel said more than 1,400 Israelis have been killed so far. At least 2,750 Palestinians were also killed and 9,700 others injured, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health.
The Associated Press contributed.
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