The Israel Defense Forces has raised the number of confirmed hostages being held in the Gaza Strip to 203.
IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said the families have been notified and stressed that the number will likely rise as the military gets new information.
Hagari noted that some of the notifications were made with high confidence, while others were made with moderate to low confidence. Other families of missing Israelis have been told their loved ones are not being held hostage.
Nearly two weeks after Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel’s Gaza border communities, many Israelis still have not been accounted for. The IDF is continuing to search near the Gaza border, and forensic experts are working around the clock to identify bodies. More than 1,400 Israelis were killed and over 4,600 more injured in the attacks.
Families of the captives have expressed anger at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s approval on Wednesday of humanitarian aid deliveries of water, food and medicine to Gaza through Egypt.
“The decision to allow humanitarian aid to the murderers of Gaza has caused great anger among the family members,” said the Bring Them Home Now organization, which represents families of the captives.
“We remind you that children, babies, women, soldiers, men and the elderly—some of whom have serious health issues, are wounded … are being held underground like animals without any human conditions, and the government of Israel is treating the murderers to baklava and medicine,” read the statement.
The Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt is primarily for the passage of people. Commercial deliveries to Gaza are usually brought through the Kerem Shalom crossing, which is adjacent to the Gaza and Egyptian borders and which Israel has closed for security reasons.
Israel has been striking Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip since Hamas’s Oct. 7 assault, and has amassed a large number of ground forces on the Gaza border in preparation for a ground assault against the terrorist group.