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Military authorities say they have discovered the bodies of Hamas captives inside Gaza – as families gathered outside the Israel Defence Forces’ headquarters demanding the resignation of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Israeli military said on Saturday that it had found the bodies of some hostages that were abducted by Hamas during last Saturday’s attack on the country.

‘We have found and located some bodies in the perimeter in the Gaza Strip of Israelis that were abducted,’ military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner told a media briefing in remarks reported by AFP.

The news has inflamed calls for Netanyahu to resign – families of those who have been kidnapped gathered in the Kirya area of Tel Aviv to demand the Israeli government cuts a hostage deal with Hamas, or to walk.

It follows a Jerusalem Post poll earlier this week that found 86 per cent of Israelis believe the attack is a failure of his government, with 56 per cent calling for him to resign.

Protesters gathered in the Kirya area of Tel Aviv to call for Benjamin Netanyahu to resign over his failure to bring home Israeli hostages from Gaza

Families say they feel let down by the government over its inability to rescue the hostages

Protesters put up posters bearing the names and faces of those who are said to have been kidnapped by Hamas outside the Israel Defence Forces HQ in the Kirya, Tel Aviv

A woman holds a poster calling for the return of Liri Elbag, who is believed to have been taken hostage by Hamas, during Saturday’s protest

Protesters are split up by an Israeli police officer, after they reportedly got into an argument about securing the release of hostages from Hamas, during a protest on Saturday

A woman holds a sign calling for the Israeli government to negotiate a hostage exchange with Hamas – the government says it will not cut any deals with the terror group

Several hundred protesters including numerous families of unaccounted-for hostages calling on Netanyahu to resign at spontaneous protest outside Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv. (@sha_b_p) pic.twitter.com/Pg6CApzxIe

— Noga Tarnopolsky נגה טרנופולסקי نوغا ترنوبولسكي (@NTarnopolsky) October 14, 2023

Almost all respondents – 94 per cent of the 620 Jewish Israelis polled by the newspaper on Thursday, before news of the deaths of hostages broke – believe the Israeli government bears some responsibility for the attack. 

Video footage shared on X, formerly Twitter, showed hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Israeli Defense Ministry’s headquarters in Tel Aviv calling on Netanyahu to resign.

Among the protesters, local media reported, were believed to be families of unaccounted-for hostages.

Another video of the protest, in the Kiriya region of the city, was captioned: ‘Meanwhile in Kiriya…Bibi resign!’

‘Bibi’ is a common nickname for the Israeli prime minister. The protest continued late into Saturday evening.

Several families who protested outside the government building told reporters that they wanted to see Netanyahu go.

Monica Levy, who lost family member Mapal Adam, 25, in the Hamas onslaught, told The Times of Israel: ‘I want Benjamin Netanyahu and all his people to go home because they’ve abandoned residents of the south and they’re not interested in the lives of residents there and instead they’re obsessed with small politics.’

Among the crowd, placards read: ‘Bibi, you have blood on your hands,’ ‘We’ve been abandoned,’ ‘Return the hostages immediately,’ and ‘There’s no trust, quit.’

Ronen Tzur, head of The Families Headquarters – a group representing the families of kidnap victims – told the newspaper separately that the Israeli government would be abandoning the captives if it refused to negotiate with Hamas.

‘We’re waiting for clarity from the government,’ he added.

Other relatives of Israelis taken captive by Hamas have demanded that the militant group allows in medicine to hostages who require it, saying their loved ones are suffering. 

The protest continued into Saturday evening as relatives of those kidnapped by Hamas called on the Israeli government to do more to bring their loved ones back

An Israeli protester holds a sign calling for the government to negotiate a release deal for Hamas hostages in Tel Aviv on Saturday

Some protesters called on Hamas to release younger and more vulnerable captives, or to allow the transport of medicine to those who need care

People embrace as others look at pictures of Hamas kidnap victims on a wall outside the Israel Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv

A protester with a painted message reading ‘bring us back’ looks at pictures of Hamas kidnap victims at the site of the demonstration against Netanyahu

‘Every day without her medication is torture. She’s being tortured,’ said Yifat Zailer, who said her kidnapped 63-year-old aunt has Parkinson’s disease. 

Hamas and other Palestinian militants hope to trade the hostages for thousands of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons. 

National security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi told reporters earlier that the country was not in a position to negotiate a deal.

‘There’s no way to negotiate with an enemy we have sworn to obliterate,’ he said.

The group has claimed Israel’s airstrikes killed nine hostages in the last 24 hours.

A statement from Al Qassam Brigades on its Telegram channel said the captives were killed ‘because of the zionist bombardment on the areas they were staying in’.

Israeli military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said Saturday Israel had so far identified 126 captives.

Their fate becomes more complicated as Israel continues its bombardment of Gaza – and prepares to stage a huge ground incursion into the occupied territory.

Israel has staged ‘localised’ raids inside Gazan territory in order to, it says, gather intelligence on hostages and battle insurgents; IDF spokesperson Lt Col Lerner said the bodies of hostages were found on these ‘small, close-perimeter raids into the Gaza Strip’. 

Hamas has threatened to kill hostages each time Israel launches a retaliatory air strike; the country has engaged in a near-constant bombardment of the occupied territory since last Saturday’s attack. 

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with soldiers on the border with Gaza earlier on Saturday ahead of an expected ground assault by Israeli forces

Israeli heavy armoured vehicles and tanks amassed at Sderot, Israel, near the border with Gaza

A stern-looking Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, wearing a flak jacket, earlier visited troops on the border front line, raising expectations of an imminent invasion.

‘Are you ready for what is coming? More is coming,’ he is heard telling several soldiers on a video released by his office. He later held security talks with ministers in his emergency government.

But the Israeli prime minister’s right-aligned government has prided itself on its security-heavy, protectionist policies – which have been undermined by the fact that its intelligence services were caught off-guard by the Hamas terror attack.

Israel has been bombing Gaza for the past week in response to a bloody cross-border Hamas attack that killed over 1,300 Israelis. 

To date, more than 2,200 Palestinians have been killed in the retaliatory strikes, according to Gazan health officials. 

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