The American Secretary of State Antony Blinken continued his talks in Israel on Thursday. In Tel Aviv he first met war cabinet ministers Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, the dpa reported. “Our focus is of course the hostage issue and the strong desire we have to see them return to their families,” Blinken said, according to Israeli broadcaster Kan. He also wanted to inform Gantz and Eisenkot about what he had heard in discussions in the region in the last few days.
According to the military, of the approximately 136 hostages still held by Hamas, at most just over a hundred are still alive. According to unconfirmed reports, more hostages may have been killed. During his Middle East trip, Blinken is also seeking a new agreement between Israel and Hamas to release more hostages in return for the release of Palestinian prisoners.