Anti-government protests are demanding the release of Gaza hostages ahead of Israel's Memorial Day.


Ahmed Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images

Relatives of Israeli hostages held in Gaza since the October 7 attacks attend a rally demanding their release outside the Tel Aviv Museum of Art on May 11, 2024.



CNN

Demonstrators took to the streets of several Israeli cities on Saturday to demand the release of all hostages held in Gaza ahead of Israel's Memorial Day.

They demanded the resignation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and early elections.

Families of hostages in Gaza also took part in anti-government protests, including in Tel Aviv, Caesarea, Rehovot and Haifa.

The protests come as Israel prepares for Remembrance Day on Sunday evening.

Many waved Israeli flags and carried signs with photos of Israeli hostages, calling on the government to return them home alive.

About 240 people were taken hostage and transferred to Gaza during Hamas' October 7 attack on Israel, in which more than 1,200 people were killed. A little more than 100 were released during a release deal in November, but the Israel Defense Forces believe there are still 132 hostages in Gaza, 128 of whom were taken on October 7. still alive

Among Saturday's protests was Yael Adar, the mother of Tamir Adar, who was abducted on October 7 and was pronounced dead in January. She said she just wanted her son's body back so he could have a proper burial.

“For 90 days, we fought for his return alive, 90 days hoping that Tamir would come back to us, in the arms of the family – a hope that with this news,” Adar said during a rally. It's over that they are no longer alive,” Adar said during a rally. .

Jacques Gies/AFP/Getty Images

Israeli police are deployed during a rally demanding the release of hostages in Gaza outside the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv on May 11, 2024.

“Since then, all we ask is that Tamir and all the murdered hostages be brought back to be buried here, in the land they loved. To give Tamir the burial he deserves. To give us closure, to have a grave where we can live with his memory,” he added.

Hagit Chen, the mother of Itay Chen, who was killed on October 7 and whose remains were flown to Gaza, said she wanted to bury her son in peace.

“I have been invited to attend many of Israel's Memorial Day events, but the only event that I should be at with my family and in memory of my son is the event that the country did not allow me to attend. “Yes,” Chen said.

“How much more pain can anyone take? I turn to the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu: It's time for you to bring them all back! For the survivors to recover and for a dignified, proper Jewish burial. Fallen persons,” he added.

The protests came after the al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, claimed that one of the Israeli hostages in Gaza had died more than a month ago.

Nadav Popelwal, who was 51 years old when he was abducted, died of his injuries when he was at the site after an Israeli airstrike, military wing spokesman Abu Obeidah said on Telegram. He was kept.

“His health deteriorated and he died because he did not receive intensive medical care,” Obaidah said.

Popelwell, who holds dual British-Israeli citizenship, was abducted from Kibbutz Nereim on October 7, 2023. His mother Chanah Perry was also abducted but was released on November 24 under a hostage deal. In October, his brother Rui was killed. 7.

The Israeli prime minister's office told CNN it did not know whether Papelville was alive or dead. The Israeli Defense Forces declined to comment.

Britain's Foreign Office said it was seeking more information about Popplewell.

“The UK government is working with partners across the region to secure the release of hostages, including British nationals. We will continue to make every effort to secure the release of the hostages,” the office told CNN.

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