How Many Israeli Hostages Still Held After 6 Months

As the Palestinian exclave sinks under Israeli weapons, scores of hostages captured during Hamas' October 7 infiltration attack into southern Israel remain unaccounted for.

The AFP reported that Hamas-led onslaught abducted over 250 people and killed 1,163 according to government data. According to the Gaza Health Ministry, the Israeli invasion into Gaza killed roughly 33,000 Palestinians, the Associated Press reported.

Given the brutality and mayhem of the October 7 attack, exact figures are hard to get. The IDF operation in Gaza has left numerous hostages in Gaza unaccounted for. Hamas claims IDF strikes killed several.

Before October 7, Hamas held some Israeli hostages, but their fate remains unknown. An IDF spokeswoman told Newsweek on Friday that 134 hostages—including 11 foreigners—are still detained, with 123 released.

Several hostages were released for humanitarian reasons or by Israeli military operations in Gaza, while bigger numbers were released in November during a seven-day ceasefire and prisoner swap.

Hostage numbers have fluctuated. The New York Times claimed in February that at least 30 of the 136 detainees in the Strip may have died, citing Israeli intelligence sources.

Last month's Wall Street Journal reported 130 hostages in Gaza, 34 of whom may have died.

The Israeli battle goal is to free the hostages, however experts have warned that the IDF's intensive shelling of Gaza and terrorist tunnels, which include hostage tunnels, endangers the inmates.

Hamas blames Israeli airstrikes for many captive fatalities since October 7. In December, IDF troops in Gaza shot and killed three Israeli hostages.

Israeli and Hamas' tortuous peace talks center on captives. The militant group wants a full truce and IDF withdrawal to free all hostages, Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails, and displaced Gazans.

The hostage situation is political in Israel. Tens of thousands of Israelis are protesting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's war cabinet's inaction to liberate the detainees.