Israel revises tally of Hamas hostages to 138

Israel now counts 138 hostages held by Hamas militants, authorities told AFP on Tuesday, after adding to the list one person previously considered missing since Hamas’s October 7 attacks.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office provided the updated number but gave no details concerning the 138th confirmed hostage or how Israeli authorities were able to verify their status.

Previously, Israeli officials had said 137 hostages were still inside the Gaza Strip and included 20 women and two children.

Officials say some 240 people — both Israelis and foreigners — were abducted by Palestinian militants who stormed southern Israel on October 7, launching attacks that killed 1,200, mostly civilians.

Israel has responded with an intense military campaign aimed at eliminating Islamist group Hamas which controls Gaza, and since October 27 has sent ground forces into the narrow Palestinian enclave.

The devastating violence has killed nearly 16,000 people in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

A seven-day truce which began in late November saw 105 hostages released from Gaza captivity, including 80 who were freed in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Five hostages were freed before the truce, including one rescued in an Israeli operation.

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