Israel Thinks Only 60-70 Out of 134 Hostages in Gaza Are Still Alive

Israeli officials working on the negotiating team say Netanyahu has been purposely stalling hostage deal negotiations

Israel believes only 60 to 70 Israeli hostages in Gaza are alive out of the 134 people and bodies that are being held in the Strip as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is sabotaging chances for a hostage deal with Hamas, Haaretz reported on Thursday.

The Israeli military previously confirmed at least 36 of the hostages had been killed, including some who died on October 7. A source told Haaretz that now, only 60 or 70 are still alive and warned the number may be lower.

“I hope I’m mistaken, but the number may even be lower,” the source said. The circumstances of their deaths are unclear, but it’s likely they were killed by the Israeli bombing campaign or died due to starvation and disease caused by the siege.

Some freed Israeli hostages have said their primary fear while being held in Gaza was being killed by Israel’s relentless bombing campaign. In December, Israeli troops gunned down three Israeli hostages who were shirtless and waving a white flag in Gaza City.

The mother of an Israeli who died in Gaza has alleged her son was killed by poison gas Israel pumped into the tunnels underneath the Strip, citing a toxicology report. Israeli media has reported that Israel’s military is aware that bombing the tunnels could create toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide, which risks killing captive Israelis.

The news of the estimate that only 60 or 70 hostages remain alive comes as family members of Israelis being held in Gaza are increasing the pressure on Netanyahu to reach a deal.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu, the responsibility to bring our sons home is yours. At the request of the state and the security forces we stayed silent until today. They scared us,” one family member said ahead of a meeting with Netanyahu, according to The Cradle. “Today, we understand that as the number of days of silence grows, the number of boys who return home alive decreases.”

Senior Israeli officers working for Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon, one of Israel’s negotiators, told Haaretz that Netanyahu has been purposely stalling negotiations with Hamas. “There are increasing signs that he’s doing almost everything possible to postpone, delay and ruin the chance of a deal to release the hostages in exchange for terrorists,” one source said.

One example of Netanyahu’s obstruction of a deal is his talk of killing senior Hamas officials, including the group’s leader, Yahya Sinwar. Israeli officials believe that if Sinwar is taken out, Israel may find itself without anyone capable of negotiating for Hamas.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.