Israel estimates that a fifth of Hamas’s hostages remaining in Gaza have died, the New York Times reported Tuesday.
At least 32 of the remaining 136 hostages are dead, the outlet reported, citing four anonymous Israeli military officials. The government has informed families of those whom the military has confirmed to be deceased.
Most of the 32 dead were killed on Oct. 7, the military told the Times. It added that it was “deploying all available resources to locate and retrieve as much information as possible regarding the hostages currently held by Hamas.”
During their terror attacks on Oct. 7, Hamas terrorists took about 240 hostages from towns and other areas near the Jewish state’s border with Gaza. It has since released less than half of them, most during a days-long truce in late November.
Hostages released by Hamas have recounted horror stories from their time in captivity. The accounts have included the branding of child hostages, as well as instances of torture and sexual abuse.
Soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces mistakenly killed three hostages in mid-December, with the military attributing the error to troops mistaking their cries for help for an ambush.
Hamas has attempted to capitalize on hostage deaths for propaganda purposes. Last month, Hamas produced a video featuring three other hostages, teasing that it would reveal which of them was alive. It later released another video in which one hostage said the other two had died in Israeli airstrikes, a claim the IDF denied.
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