Four more Israeli hostages declared dead, and Palestinians seek to join genocide case

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Israel’s military confirmed the deaths of four more hostages held by Hamas — including three men in their 80s who were seen in a Hamas video begging for their release. Around 80 hostages captured on Oct. 7 are believed to still be alive in Gaza, alongside the remains of 43 others.

Monday’s announcement came days after U.S. President Joe Biden announced that Israel has offered Hamas a deal to release all the hostages in Gaza and potentially end the war. Biden says the militant group is sufficiently depleted, however Israeli leaders say destroying Hamas will require more military operations in Gaza, raising doubts about the cease-fire efforts.

At the top U.N. court, Palestinian officials asked Monday to join South Africa’s case accusing Israel of committing genocide in Gaza. Israel faces growing international criticism over the huge cost in civilian lives and the widespread destruction caused by the nearly eight-month war. Israel strongly denies the accusations of genocide.

Israel’s expanding offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah — once the main hub of humanitarian aid operations — has largely cut off the flow of food, medicine and other supplies to Palestinians facing widespread hunger.

Israeli bombardments and ground operations in Gaza have killed more than 36,000 Palestinians, according to the Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians.

Israel launched the war in Gaza after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed some 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250.

AP