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Thousands Rally in Israel Demanding Hostage Release, Government Resignation

Thousands of Israelis demonstrated on Saturday in several cities calling for the dismissal of their government, coinciding with protests by the families of hostages held in Gaza in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence.

According to Yedioth Ahronoth daily, “thousands of Israelis protested in the city of Haifa, at the Horev intersection, against the government, demanding immediate elections.”

“The march started from the Carmel area in the city of Haifa to the protest center at the Horev intersection,” it added.

In the city of Kfar Saba, near Tel Aviv, hundreds demonstrated under the slogan “Elections Now”, according to the newspaper.

The protesters demanded the dismissal of Netanyahu and immediate elections, according to Yedioth Ahronoth.

Hundreds also demonstrated in the city of Ra’anana near Tel Aviv, calling for the government’s dismissal.

Netanyahu is facing a barrage of criticism from the Israeli public and some politicians due to the crisis of Israeli hostages in Gaza and the failure to find any path to ensure their safe return to Israel.

Dozens of families of hostages in Gaza also demonstrated in front of Netanyahu’s house in the city of Caesarea (North) to demand their release.

Yedioth Ahronoth said that “for the second consecutive week, families of hostages in Gaza have been protesting in front of Netanyahu’s house in Caesarea”.

Israeli officials estimate that there are about 136 hostages still held in Gaza since Hamas launched an attack on Israeli military points and settlements near Gaza on October 7.

Palestinian resistance factions, led by Hamas, captured around 239 people in towns and cities near Gaza and last November exchanged dozens of them with Israel during a seven-day humanitarian pause.

In return, Palestinian prisoner institutions reported that Israel released 240 Palestinian prisoners from its jails during the pause, including 71 women prisoners and 169 children.

Despite an International Court of Justice ruling, Israel continues its onslaught on the Gaza Strip in which at least 26,257 Palestinians have been killed, mostly women and children, and 64,797 injured since October 7, according to Palestinian health authorities.

The Israeli offensive has left 85% of Gaza’s population internally displaced amid acute shortages of food, clean water, and medicine, while 60% of the enclave’s infrastructure was damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

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