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Israel drops leaflets in Gaza offering reward for hostage information

Gaza: Israel’s military dropped leaflets in Gaza on Tuesday, urging Palestinians to give them information about hostages being held by Hamas and offering them protection and a reward.

The Palestinian militant group seized more than 200 people during cross-border raids into Israel which killed 1,400 people on Oct. 7. The Palestinian health ministry says Israeli air strikes on Gaza have killed over 5,000 people since then.

“If your will is to live in peace and to have a better future for your children, do the humanitarian deed immediately and share verified and valuable information about hostages being held in your area,” the military said in the leaflet.

“The Israeli military assures you that it will invest maximum effort in providing security for you and your home, and you will receive a financial reward. We guarantee you complete confidentiality.”

The leaflet listed phone numbers to call with information.

People taking refuge at Nasser hospital in Khan Younis in southern Gaza collected the leaflets and tore them up after they were dropped by Israeli planes.

Referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, one Palestinian man said: “We don’t care, do whatever you want. All of us in Gaza are telling you, we are resisting, from east to west.”

Israeli forces are massed near the border with the Gaza Strip, awaiting orders for an expected ground invasion intended to free the hostages and wipe out Hamas.

Israel says the hostages, who include foreign nationals, were taken to Gaza, but their exact whereabouts are not known, complicating their rescue. Officials have said many could be held in a warren of tunnels under Gaza.

Hamas has released four hostages, and promised to free more “when conditions on the ground allow”.

(Published 24 October 2023, 12:55 IST)

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