The Israeli military announced on Saturday that they had discovered the remains of several hostages who were kidnapped by Hamas militants during operations conducted within Gaza earlier this week.
“We have found and located some bodies in the perimeter in the Gaza Strip of Israelis that were abducted,” a military spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, told a briefing.
According to Israel, at least 120 individuals were taken captive when Hamas militants initiated attacks within Israel on October 7, resulting in a death toll of at least 1,300.
Following this, the Israeli military conducted “localized” operations within Gaza to support an aerial offensive on the region, which the Hamas government claims resulted in at least 2,215 casualties.
Lerner stated that the hostages’ remains were discovered during these “small, close-perimeter raids into the Gaza Strip.”
The Israeli military has executed airstrikes on numerous Hamas targets in Gaza, the spokesperson added.
“They include quality targets such as drone facilities, they include naval facilities, they include command and control facilities, they include all of the rocket facilities,” Lerner said.
“Our assessment suggests that at this time Hamas are in a state of disarray, they have no idea what the situation is above ground, they have escaped into the tunnels.”
Government officials have also stated that additional time will be provided for civilians to evacuate the northern part of the territory in anticipation of an anticipated full-scale ground operation.
Lerner did not specify a deadline for evacuating northern Gaza, but stated, “We have extended once again because we realized that there is a huge amount of people that need to get out. We are continuing to encourage the population in the north of the Gaza Strip and Gaza City to go south and get out of harm’s way.”
Foreign ministry spokesman Lior Haiat added that Israel is not insisting that Palestinians abandon Gaza entirely, but rather encouraging them to move out of the north.
“We gave them (civilians) the time to do so and we will continue to give civilians time to leave the places that we think Hamas is using for its terrorist infrastructure,” Haiat said