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Home ยป Hamas Has Six British Hostages, Govt Fears

Hamas Has Six British Hostages, Govt Fears

The fate of six British nationals is unknown following Hamas’s unprecedented attack on Israel, Downing Street has said.

Victoria Atkins, financial secretary to the Treasury, had earlier told Sky News that they were being held hostage by Hamas militants – and those missing were the government’s “absolute priority”.

But in a clarifying statement, Number 10 later said that it is unclear whether these six Britons have been captured or killed.

“I know how difficult that must be for the families and the friends at home here in the UK who are grappling with incredible worry and concern about their loved ones,” Ms Atkins said.

Israel-Gaza latest: Two female hostages freed by Hamas

Image: Victoria Atkins, financial secretary to the Treasury During the interview, she also confirmed that the number of Britons killed either during or since Hamas’s surprise attack on Israel had risen from nine to 10.

Among the dead are two teenagers, a soldier, people visiting Israel on holiday, and a music festival security guard.

Hamas released two Israeli hostages on Monday night, after releasing two US citizens on Friday.

Yocheved Lifshitz and Nurit Cooper were taken from their homes by Hamas militants during the 7 October raids.

Sixteen days later, Hamas said it was releasing them for “humanitarian reasons”.

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Two hostages released by Hamas Egyptian TV showed the women being taken out of Gaza at the Rafah crossing and put into ambulances.

The husbands of Ms Lifshitz and Ms Cooper are still being held hostage by Hamas.

The group did not explain why only the women had been released.

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American hostages Judith Raanan and her daughter Natalie Raanan were the first to be released by Hamas last week.

They too were let go for “humanitarian reasons”.

Both hold Israeli citizenship and were on a trip to Israel from their home in Chicago to celebrate the Jewish holidays when they were seized.

Natalie’s father said she was “doing very good” after her release.

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Hostages can be freed ‘under right conditions’ On Sunday, before the release of Ms Lifshitz and Ms Cooper, a spokesperson for the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said 212 people were being held hostage in Gaza.

One senior Hamas leader, Khaled Meeshal, told Sky News that the al Qassam Brigades – the armed wing of Hamas – had agreed to release the hostages.

He claimed that at least 22 hostages had been killed as a result of retaliatory airstrikes by Israel targeted at Hamas – a figure Sky News has not been able to independently verify.

“Let them stop this aggression, and you will find that the mediators – like Qatar and some Arab countries like Egypt and others – they will find a way to have them released, and we will send them to their homes,” he added.