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Families Of Hostages Captive In Gaza Approaches World Court

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About 100 representatives of Gaza hostages flew to The Hague Wednesday to file a “crimes against humanity” complaint at the International Criminal Court against Hamas. Palestinian militants led by Hamas abducted around 250 hostages during their attack on Israel on October 7, of which some 130 are still held captive in Gaza, according to Israeli officials.

Twenty-nine of them are believed to be dead. This is not just our story. If we don’t stop this, tomorrow it will be the story of the entire world,” said Ofri Bibas, whose brother is one of the captives held in Gaza. “The entire human race must stand together against a global terror army, of which Hamas is just one unit on its mission,” she said, minutes before she boarded a flight for The Hague.

Haim Rubinstein from the Hostages and Missing Families Forum said the campaign group will file a case against Hamas leaders at the ICC. “We are the families of the hostages who have gone through and are still going through this terrible hell,” Rubinstein said in a televised briefing from Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv. “We will file charges against Hamas members and their collaborators and ensure that they pay the heaviest price for the crimes against humanity that they continue to commit.”

The Hamas attack that launched the war resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.  At least 28,473 people, mostly women and children, have been killed in Israel’s response, according to the health ministry. Families of hostages have kept up pressure on Israeli authorities to secure the release of the remaining captives. Their latest attempt comes as Israeli intelligence chief David Barnea met CIA Director William Burns in the Egyptian capital on Tuesday for talks on a Qatari-brokered plan to halt fighting in Gaza.

The negotiations, which also involved Qatar’s prime minister and Egyptian officials, are part of an intensifying effort to secure a ceasefire before Israel proceeds with a ground incursion into the southern city of Rafah, where more than half of the territory’s population has fled. The ICC is the world’s only independent court set up to probe the gravest offences including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.  The court’s chief prosecutor Karim Khan on Monday called for the release of all hostages held in Gaza as he also voiced concern about a possible Israeli ground incursion into Rafah.

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