Hamas is answering phone calls with four words, relatives of hostages say

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Families of some hostages are hearing the same four words in their phone calls with Hamas: “Kidnap. Gaza. Gilad Shalit.”

Those words from Hamas were repeated to the relatives of several people kidnapped from an extended family, including three young children, their disabled uncle and his caregiver, Telegraph has reported.

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As the newspaper points out, Gilad Shalit was a former Israeli soldier who was returned to Israel after he was exchanged for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in 2011. Shalit was held captive by Hamas for five years.

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Qatar is reportedly mediating a possible prisoner swap of women and children between Israel and Hamas, Telegraph noted.

Hamas has said it has captured 200 to 250 hostages in Gaza on Monday. Abu Ubaida, the spokesperson for Hamas, said in a televised statement on Monday that 200 hostages were taken during its surprise attack on Oct. 7.

Hostages numbering about 50 were held by “resistance factions in other places” while 22 hostages were killed during Israel’s airstrikes on Gaza, claimed Ubaaida, according to the Guardian.

The prisoners would be released “when conditions are ripe,” he added.

Two Canadian-Israelis, Judith Weinstein Haggai and Vivian White, have been reported missing since the attack.

Hamas has said hostage negotiations would not commence until Israel ceases airstrikes on Gaza. Both sides have exchanged rockets on a daily basis since the Hamas raid.

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Originally posted 2023-10-18 17:08:50.