Red Cross calls for Gaza hostages to be “released unharmed”

October 10, 2023

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Tuesday called for the safe release of hostages following Hamas’ attack on Israel in Gaza. 

In a statement, ICRC President Mirjana Spoljaric called for all hostages to be “immediately released unharmed” in accordance with international humanitarian law.

Her statement comes after a greatly disturbing video was posted on Telegram and verified by the Washington Post, showing that at least four Israelis who were taken hostage following Hamas’ attack Saturday were killed soon after.

Hamas’ “apparent deliberate targeting of civilians, indiscriminate attacks, and taking of civilians as hostages amount to war crimes under international humanitarian law,” Human Rights Watch wrote in a news release Monday.

At least 900 people have died and another 2,600 injured in Israel since Saturday’s attack, after which Israel declared war on Hamas, and another 765 people have died in Gaza where some 4,000 are injured.

In its statement Tuesday, the Red Cross said it stood ready in its role to act as a neutral intermediary to help clarify the fate of those missing. 

While it’s unclear exactly how many people have been taken hostage, Hamas claims to have captured “dozens,”  and on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the terrorist organization threatened to execute a hostage every time an Israeli airstrike hit Gazans in their homes.

On Tuesday morning, National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby told CNN that the Biden Administration was taking the possibility of Americans being among the hostages “very seriously.”

“You’ve got to take it seriously, because of the barbarity that Hamas has already shown that they’re capable of. So obviously, we’re watching it very, very closely. We have talked to the Israelis about offering them additional intelligence information as well as hostage recovery expertise,” Kirby said.

On Monday, Israel declared a “complete seige” of Gaza, cutting off electricity, food, fuel and water in the territory.

That act has drawn the criticism of the United Nations, which said services to some 400,000 people had been “undermined,” as well as the International Red Cross.

“Killing civilians and ill-treatment are prohibited by the Geneva Conventions. In addition, the conventions demand that the wounded and sick are cared for,” noted Spoljaric, adding that authorities must insure that civilians have access to water, food, and medical care, “irrespective of any military siege.”

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