Leaders of 18 nations call on Hamas to release hostages

The leaders emphasise that the deal to release the hostages would bring an immediate and prolonged ceasefire in Gaza

By AFP

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A person sitting in an electric wheelchair moves past posters of Israeli hostages held in Gaza since the October 7 attacks by Palestinian militants, during a protest by the families of the hostages and their supporters outside the Defence Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv. — Photo: AFP
A person sitting in an electric wheelchair moves past posters of Israeli hostages held in Gaza since the October 7 attacks by Palestinian militants, during a protest by the families of the hostages and their supporters outside the Defence Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv. — Photo: AFP

Published: Thu 25 Apr 2024, 7:51 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Apr 2024, 10:09 PM

The leaders of the United States, Britain, France and more than a dozen other countries called in a joint statement on Thursday for Hamas to release the scores of hostages it is holding.

Hamas seized the hostages during a shock October 7 attack that sparked the deadliest ever war between it and Israel, which has vowed to eliminate the Palestinian militant group.


"We call for the immediate release of all hostages held by Hamas in Gaza for over 200 days. They include our own citizens," the leaders said.

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"We emphasise that the deal on the table to release the hostages would bring an immediate and prolonged ceasefire in Gaza, that would facilitate a surge of additional necessary humanitarian assistance to be delivered throughout Gaza, and lead to the credible end of hostilities," they said.

"We strongly support the ongoing mediation efforts in order to bring our people home."

Israel estimates 129 of the roughly 250 people abducted during the Hamas attack on October 7 remain in Gaza, including 34 who the military says are dead.

The Hamas attack resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

At least 34,305 people have been killed in Gaza during more than six months of war between Israel and Palestinian militants, the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory said Thursday.

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