Netanyahu Meets With Families of Israeli Hostages

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel met on Tuesday with families of hostages captured on Oct. 7, as pressure mounted over his government’s plans to bring them home.

“We are committed, I am personally committed, to the release of all the hostages,” Mr. Netanyahu said, according to a statement sent by his office. “Rescuing them is a supreme task.”

The meeting came days after the Israeli military admitted to mistakenly killing three hostages that it thought were Hamas militants. The men — Yotam Haim, Alon Shamriz and Samer Talalka — were shirtless, unarmed and bearing a makeshift white flag, the military said, and shooting at them violated its rules of engagement.

Israel believes that more than 125 hostages are still held in Gaza, and the deaths on Friday revived frustrations among many of their families. On Monday, Avi Shamriz, the father of Alon Shamriz, one of the three men killed by accident, told NBC News that the prime minister’s government had “murdered my son twice.”

Mr. Netanyahu met on Tuesday with representatives of more than a dozen of the hostages’ families. Many families who were not invited to the meeting protested outside the Israeli military’s headquarters in Tel Aviv, opposing what they have viewed as the politicization of the hostages’ cause.

Critics of Israel’s campaign in Gaza cited the killings as evidence that Mr. Netanyahu’s government has not been as committed to protecting civilians at it has claimed. More than 20,000 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting so far, according to Gaza’s health ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians. The ministry has said, however, that 70 percent of the dead are women and children.

On Sunday, Mr. Netanyahu vowed to keep fighting in Gaza after he read from a letter that he said came from families of Israeli soldiers who had been killed.

“You have a mandate to fight; you do not have a mandate to stop in the middle,” Mr. Netanyahu read in Hebrew.

Johnatan Reiss contributed reporting from Jerusalem.

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