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Israel ramps up bombings as Hamas releases 2 more hostages

Israel intensified its bombing campaign of Hamas targets in Gaza, including several commando raids that also served as reconnaissance missions.
Israel ramps up bombings as Hamas releases 2 more hostages
Posted at 7:26 AM, Oct 24, 2023

The Israel Defense Forces said on Tuesday that it has escalated air strikes on Gaza, as bombings could be seen from the Israel-Gaza border.

The IDF said early Tuesday it had launched 400 air strikes over the past day. The IDF also confirmed that it made targeted commando raids inside Gaza.

Those raids have been seen as not only aimed at military targets but as reconnaissance missions to locate some of the 220 people believed to be held hostage by Hamas.

Monday night, Hamas released two elderly female hostages. Hamas says they did it for humanitarian reasons, but the women's husbands, who were also taken hostage during the attack on Israel on Oct. 7, are still being held by Hamas.

"They attacked our houses," Yocheved Lifshitz, one of the freed hostages, said. "They killed and kidnapped both old and young with no distinction."

The 85-year-old added that the entire experience was unimaginable. 

"I went through a nightmare we couldn't have imagined," she said. "I constantly have the images of what happened repeating in my mind."

Lifshitz said she was thrown into a motorcycle and beaten with a pole on the way to Gaza, adding that she had to walk for two to three hours through a series of tunnels to a large hallway, where she was kept with 25 other hostages. Each hostage had a guard, Lifshitz said. 

It's unknown whether any of those hostages are American. U.S. officials say 10 Americans are still unaccounted for. 

SEE MORE: Parents of missing American Israeli describe texts during attack

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to New York City and will meet at the United Nations with other top diplomats on the situation in the Middle East.

Aside from the violence, there is growing concern about the health of the 2 million Palestinians in Gaza. A third aid convoy made it into southern Gaza Monday through Egypt. But humanitarian groups say it is nowhere near enough, even before Israel tightened its blockade of Gaza restricting all shipments of food, water and fuel.

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