According to Al Jazeera, Hamas militants have reportedly captured a significant number of Israeli soldiers, including high-ranking officers. As a result, the group expects to negotiate a prisoner exchange for all Palestinians currently held in Israeli jails in West Jerusalem.
Hamas deputy chief Saleh al-Arouri stated in an interview with Al Jazeera that they have a large number of Israeli captives, some of whom are senior officers. He emphasized that these captives will be used as leverage to secure the release of Palestinians incarcerated in Israel. Al-Arouri further stated that the longer the fighting continues, the higher the number of prisoners will become, indicating that Hamas anticipates capturing more Israeli soldiers.
According to a public radio report, the captives are being held in three communities within Israel. However, some of the detainees are missing and may have been moved to Gaza. It is worth noting that Hamas launched a surprise attack against Israel on Saturday, firing rockets from Gaza and deploying ground forces in various Israeli towns and military bases.
The current conflict has resulted in significant casualties on both sides. N12 News outlet reports that at least 100 Israelis have been killed, while “hundreds of terrorists” have been eliminated in southern Israel and Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised retaliation, vowing that their enemy would pay a price it has never known before. Netanyahu emphasized that Israel is in a war and is determined to secure victory.
In response to Hamas’ attacks, the Israeli military launched airstrikes in Gaza, claiming to have killed dozens of Palestinian militants attempting to infiltrate the country by sea. Gaza’s health ministry reported 198 deaths and over 1,600 injuries. As a strategic move, Israeli energy minister Israel Katz announced that the supply of electricity to Gaza would be cut off during the fighting, further escalating tensions.
Al Jazeera aired footage of a residential tower being hit by an airstrike while one of its journalists was reporting live from the scene in central Gaza City. This visual evidence highlights the destructive impact of the conflict on civilian infrastructure.
Hamas named its major offensive “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood” and justified it as a response to escalating Israeli attacks on Palestinians. Hamas military commander Mohammad Deif declared that this battle represents the end of the last occupation on earth, urging Palestinians worldwide to join the fight.
The current conflict underscores the longstanding issue of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. According to the activist group Addameer, nearly 5,200 Palestinians are currently detained in Israeli jails and detention centers. The capture of Israeli soldiers and the subsequent negotiation for prisoner exchange highlights the complex dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
As the conflict continues, the international community closely monitors the situation, hoping for a de-escalation and a peaceful resolution. It remains to be seen how the prisoner exchange negotiations and the ongoing military actions will shape the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.