Fear Grows in Israel for Sick or Wounded Hostages


Israeli officials said that Hamas had taken at least 20 children, including toddlers; more than a dozen people in their 60s, 70s and 80s; and people who suffer from Parkinson’s disease, heart problems, diabetes and cancer. On top of that, several hostages were gravely wounded by gunshots and grenades during the terrorist attack.

Family members and international organizations are beseeching Hamas to show mercy and release the old, the young, the sick and the wounded first.

The International Committee of the Red Cross is one of the groups trying to help. Within two days of the attack, Red Cross officials said, they had approached Hamas leaders in Doha, Qatar.

“The starting point — and I have a hard time getting away from this — is that there are people who should never be there,” said Fabrizio Carboni, the organization’s regional director for the Near and Middle East, in an interview this past week.

In the past 10 days, he said, the Red Cross has met face to face and held numerous telephone calls with Hamas officials, but, “considering the level of violence in Gaza, I see it as extremely complicated for us to do our work.”

Red Cross officials said they were asking Hamas leaders to offer “proof of life,” such as a message, phone call or video that would prove each person believed to be held captive is alive. The Red Cross is also asking Hamas to allow in medicine and to immediately release the hostages with urgent health needs, like Rut.

“They should all be released, but the ones with specific medical conditions should be even more released than the others,” Mr. Carboni said. “There is no way easily to provide the medical help they need in Gaza today,” he added. “We asked for it. But today we are far from it, very far.”

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