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Shin Bet denies reports that only 40 Israeli hostages remain alive in Hamas captivity

Daily Mail reported all but 40 of the remaining 133 Israeli hostages killed

Pictures of Israeli hostages in the streets of Jerusalem, April 2024 (Photo: All Israel News).

Israel's domestic intelligence agency, Shin Bet, refuted earlier claims made by the Daily Mail that only 40 Israeli hostages still being alive in Hamas captivity.

The British tabloid based its report on anonymous sources and “intelligence gathered by Shin Bet.”

“The publication in question is not true and does not represent the opinion of the Shin Bet,” the intelligence agency responded on Sunday. “The numbers mentioned in the article are based on the writer’s opinion only and are not based on information from the Shin Bet.”

Israeli officials estimate that out of the 133 Israeli hostages in Gaza, 98 are still alive, and the deaths of 35 hostages have been confirmed.

The Daily Mail reported that since the beginning of the IDF's ground operations in Gaza, it has been able to gather more precise intelligence, leading to the latest assessment by Shin Bet that all but 40 hostages had died.

“[Intelligence] is much easier to access than before October 7 when we had limited access to Gaza and we didn’t have a lot of possibilities of sources,” the Daily Mail quoted an anonymous source as saying.

About two weeks earlier, The Wall Street Journal cited U.S. officials estimating that most of the hostages were “already dead,” but added that the U.S. was dependent on Israeli intelligence in Gaza.

According to the report, American and Israeli officials told the WSJ they believed many of the remaining hostages were being held underground, close to Hamas’ leadership, to serve as human shields.

Others may have been killed in Israeli airstrikes or died from poor health conditions and lack of healthcare treatment

As part of the latest hostage deal negotiations, which have since collapsed, Hamas told mediators that it wasn’t able to confirm that there were at least 40 living hostages to fulfill the terms of the agreement.

On Sunday, the Hostages and Missing Families Forum stated: “The timeless Passover refrain, ‘In every generation, a person is obligated to see themselves as though they went out from Egypt’ has taken on new meaning – ‘In every generation, a person is obligated to see themselves as though they are in Gaza.’”

“A moment before Passover, the festival celebrating freedom, a sobering reality persists: 133 hostages, men, women, children and the elderly remain trapped deep within Hamas’s tunnels in Gaza, deprived of liberty and drained of hope,” according to the statement.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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