Netanyahu heckled by hostage families during parliament address

The Israeli prime minister vows to bring the captives home but says needed "more time"

By AFP

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs a cabinet meeting at the Kirya military base. — Reuters
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs a cabinet meeting at the Kirya military base. — Reuters

Published: Mon 25 Dec 2023, 7:47 PM

Families of hostages taken by Gaza militants booed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday as he addressed parliament, vowing to bring the captives home but saying "more time" was needed.

"Now! Now!" the families chanted from the gallery when Netanyahu said Israeli forces first needed to increase military pressure on Gaza's Hamas rulers.

"We wouldn't be able to secure the release of hostages without military pressure," he said.

Netanyahu said he spoke to Israeli field commanders who said they needed "more time" to finish the mission.

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"We won't stop until victory," Netanyahu said over the cries of protesters.

Israel says 129 hostages, abducted on October 7 when Hamas gunmen attacked southern Israel, are still held in the Palestinian territory.

"We, my colleagues and I, aren't sparing any effort," Netanyahu added, to return "all of our hostages home".

Netanyahu's address came after his Likud party reported that he visited the Gaza Strip on Monday and vowed to step up the army's assault in the Palestinian territory.

"I just came back from Gaza," he said, according to a Likud party statement.

"We're not stopping, we're continuing to fight and we're intensifying the fighting in the coming days. It's going to be a long war that's not close to ending."

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