Tel Aviv: Israel's Minister of Foreign Affairs Eli Cohen and 22 ambassadors and diplomats from countries whose citizens have been abducted have called for the immediate release of the abductees and to permit visits by the International Red Cross.
Cohen said the release of the abductees is Israel's "foremost priority." The Israeli military on Thursday said that nearly 30 of some 200 hostages held by Hamas in Gaza are children. More than ten are over the age of 60, a statement by the Israeli military said, adding that authorities have no information about the location of more than 100 missing Israelis.
Cohen held a meeting with dozens of foreign ambassadors whose citizens have been held by Hamas in Gaza and asked to pressurise Hamas to ensure their smooth release. Ambassadors from Peru, Tanzania, Russia, Romania, Portugal, Argentina, Philippines, Georgia, Sri Lanka, France, Mexico, Denmark, Hungary, Austria, Ethiopia, Serbia, Columbia, Italy, Thailand, Canada, the Netherlands, Poland and the European Union participated in the meeting.
Upper Galilee residents ordered to enter protected areas over security incident
Meanwhile, due to a security incident in Moshav Margaliot in the Upper Galilee region of Israel, residents of the nearby towns of Manara, Mashgav Am and Kfar Giladi have been instructed to enter protected areas until further notice.
Besides, in the plaza of the Tel Aviv Museum, a "Sabbath reception" has been set: a table with 203 empty chairs, awaiting the arrival of Israelis who are being held hostage in Gaza.
(With inputs from ANI)