Protesters return to streets across Israel, demanding hostage release

By Thomson Reuters May 11, 2024 | 3:14 PM

TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Thousands of Israelis took to the streets on Saturday demanding that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government do more to secure the release of hostages being held in the Gaza Strip by Islamist group Hamas.

Family members of the hostages, carrying pictures of their loved ones still in captivity, joined the crowds that demonstrated in Tel Aviv.

One of them was Naama Weinberg, whose cousin Itai Svirsky was abducted during Hamas’ Oct. 7 assault on Israeli towns and, according to Israeli authorities, was killed in captivity. In a speech she referenced a video Hamas made public on Saturday, claiming that another of the Israeli captives had died.

“Soon, even those who managed to survive this long will no longer be among the living. They must be saved now,” Weinberg said.

As the evening progressed, some protesters blocked a main highway in the city before being dispersed by police, who used water cannons to push back the crowd. At least three people were arrested.

Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack sparked the devastating war in Gaza, now raging for nearly seven months.

(Reporting by Christophe Van Der Perre and Miro Maman in Tel Aviv; Editing by Matthew Lewis)