Hamas terrorists abducted more than 100 Israeli citizens to the Gaza Strip during Saturday’s terrorist assault, Israel’s Government Press Office said in a Facebook post on Sunday.
That assertion came hours after the Israeli embassy in the United States cited the same number in a post on X (formerly Twitter). The embassy’s post was later deleted.
Earlier on Sunday, the Israel Defense Forces set up a situation room tasked with determining how many civilians and soldiers were kidnapped.
Maj. Gen. Yaniv Asor, the head of the IDF Personnel Directorate, asked Maj. Gen. (res.) Lior Carmeli to lead the effort.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed Brig. Gen. (res.) Gal Hirsch to coordinate the government efforts to locate missing persons.
Hamas claimed on Saturday to have abducted 163 Israelis and taken them to the Gaza Strip after dispatching dozens of terrorists into the Jewish state as part of a major attack.
The Foreign Ministry of Thailand said Sunday that Hamas abducted 11 of its citizens during the previous day’s attack on Israel from Gaza.
Channel 13 reported late Saturday afternoon that Israel has confirmed that at least 11 people have been taken hostage in the Hamas-ruled enclave.
Unconfirmed footage circulating online showed alleged Hamas terrorists ushering numerous Israelis into Gaza. A father interviewed by Channel 12 said his two daughters, aged 3 and 5, were missing and feared kidnapped.
There were also unconfirmed reports that more than a dozen Nepalese nationals, working in Israel, were abducted and taken to Gaza.
The IDF says the situation room will work to compile a “situational picture” for locating the captives, noting that “some families have already received messages about their loved ones.”
An Egyptian official cited by the Associated Press claimed Israel has sought help from Cairo to bring the hostages home, and that Egypt’s intelligence chief had contacted Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, which also took part in Saturday’s onslaught.
The official told AP that Palestinian leaders claimed that they don’t yet have a “full picture” of their captives, but added those who were brought into Gaza were taken to “secure locations” across the coastal enclave.
“It’s clear that they have a big number—several dozens,” said the anonymous Egyptian official.
On Sunday afternoon, 30 young Israelis whom Hamas terrorists as they attended a “Nature Party” in the desert near Kibbutz Re’im were found in the city of Netivot, Ynet reported. The group hid for more than 24 hours, added the report.