Israeli army spokesman Brigadier General Daniel Hagari announced on Sunday evening that 239 of his citizens are being held captive by the Hamas movement in Gaza.

In a press conference broadcast on Army Radio, Hagari said, “Notifications were delivered to the families of 239 abductees in Gaza, that their children are being held by Hamas”.

Hagari pointed out that among the prisoners held by Hamas are foreign workers, and noted that the authorities identified 40 other people who were missing.

The Israeli army spokesman vowed to pursue and reach the head of Hamas in Gaza, Yahya al Sinwar.

Regarding the possible ground operation in the Gaza Strip, Hagari said, “We continue to expand the ground operation in a gradual manner… We’ll do our best to ensure the safety of our forces”.

Hagari added that the Israeli army eliminated dozens of Palestinian militants in Gaza, including commanders at the tactical level of Hamas.

The Israeli army said on Sunday that its calls for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to head south, away from the center of the war on Hamas, have now become an urgent matter.

“For the past two weeks, we have been calling on residents of the northern Gaza Strip and Gaza City to move south temporarily… for their personal safety,” Hajari said.

He added, “We confirm today that this is an urgent appeal”.

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