Israel-Hamas War: More troops moved out of Gaza as protesters call on Netanyahu to resign over hostages

Israeli woman (79) killed in stabbing attack in Ra’anana, while Hamas claims to show dead bodies of two Israeli hostages

Israel has reported a further reduction in troops fighting in Gaza, in a war that has killed more than 24,000 residents of the coastal enclave, according to the Hamas-run health ministry there.

Only three combat divisions now remain in Gaza, focusing on operations in the southern city of Khan Younis and refugee camps in the central area. Israel began reducing the number of its soldiers in Gaza a few weeks ago after defeating Hamas divisions in the northern Gaza Strip, it says, leaving only sporadic resistance from militants.

In other developments on Monday:

  • A 79-year-old Israeli woman was killed and 17 people injured in a ramming and stabbing attack in the central Israeli city of Ra’anana.
  • Hundreds of people protested outside the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, calling on the government of prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu to take responsibility for the October 7th Hamas-led attack and resign.
  • Hamas appeared to show the dead bodies of two Israeli hostages on Monday after warning Israel they might be killed if it did not stop its bombardment of Gaza.
  • Israeli media reported escalating tensions between the Biden administration and the Netanyahu government over a range of issues.

Two Palestinian suspects were arrested after the attack in Ra’anana, after which three of those injured were in a serious condition. The suspects were reported to be working in Israel illegally at a car wash.


The incident began when one of the suspects stabbed a woman and took control of her car. He then ran over pedestrians before crashing the vehicle. He then seized another car and drove in to more by passersby.

The Gaza war began on October 7th when 1,200 people were killed, according to Israel, and 240 kidnapped in a Hamas-led attack in southern Israel.

Gaza urgently needs more aid or its desperate population will suffer widespread famine and disease, the heads of three large UN agencies warned on Monday, saying that aid delivery has been hindered by the opening of too few border crossings.

Monday’s protest outside the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, on Day 101 of the war, was a rare instance of public opposition to the government. Mr Netanyahu’s popularity has plummeted since October 7th but even his bitterest opponents are reluctant to take to the streets during wartime.

A new video released by Hamas, the militant group that governs Gaza, purportedly showed the bodies of Israeli hostages Yossi Sharabi (53) and Itai Svirsky (38), who had appeared in an initial video on Sunday. It also showed a third Israeli hostage, Noa Argamani (26), saying the two were killed by “our own IDF strikes,” referring to the Israeli military.

Israel’s defence minister, Yoav Gallant, accused Hamas of carrying out “psychological abuse”.

The three are among some 240 people taken hostage in the October 7th attack. About half of those taken were released during a short-lived November truce, but Israel says 132 remain in Gaza and that 25 have died in captivity.

Israeli media said tensions between the Biden administration and the Netanyahu government were over issues including Israeli military tactics and strategy in the war, the volume of humanitarian aid to Gaza, Mr Netanyahu’s alleged refusal to hold meaningful discussions about the so-called day after in Gaza, and Israel’s refusal to turn over funds that it owes to the Palestinian Authority. US president Joe Biden and Mr Netanyahu haven’t spoken for the past three weeks.

US officials say the Houthis in Yemen hit an American-owned ship with a missile on Monday, but no injuries or significant damage were reported. A Houthi spokesman vowed to continue their attacks on ships “which are heading to Israel” as part of the campaign to end the Israeli attacks in Gaza.

Mark Weiss

Mark Weiss

Mark Weiss is a contributor to The Irish Times based in Jerusalem