Israel must make agonising call to worried families of hostages if Hamas REFUSES prisoner swap, terror adviser reveals

Israel must make agonising call to worried families of hostages if Hamas REFUSES prisoner swap, terror adviser reveals

ISRAEL will be forced to make heartbreaking calls to families of hostages if Hamas snubs a prisoner swap deal, a terror adviser has warned.

Hamas gunmen kidnapped dozens of people from towns and a music festival as they rampaged across the border.

AlamyA wall with photos in Tel Aviv shows hostages kidnapped and taken to Gaza[/caption]

Hostage Mia Shem, 21, appeared in a sickening Hamas hostage video on Monday

The terrorist group claims to have up to 250 captives in Gaza and issued a chilling threat to execute one civilian for each Israeli airstrike unleashed without warning.

It’s feared many of the hostages – both Israeli and non-Israeli citizens – are being held in Hamas’ mysterious 311-mile maze of tunnels underground.

A top Hamas leader this week hinted they may attempt to use those it abducted as bargaining chips to secure the release of Palestinian prisoners.

Khaled Meshaal, head of Hamas’ diaspora office, said the group “has what it needs” to free 6,000 Palestinians being held in Israeli jails.

Hamas’ armed wing separately said the non-Israelis were “guests” who would be released “when circumstances allow”.

Since Hamas’ horror assault on October 7, Israel has discharged a barrage of airstrikes on Gaza – but vowed to act to free hostages while eliminating Hamas.

Friends and family of those kidnapped have been protesting and demanding a “prisoner deal now”.

Yigal Carmon, a counter-terrorism expert and former counter-terrorism advisor to Israeli prime ministers Yitzhak Shamir and Yitzhak Rabin, said a prisoner exchange is “absolutely necessary”.

He told The Sun: “Hamas wants all their Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.

“We should say ‘yes’ and give them everybody, to the last prisoner.

“We do not need them. This is our bargaining: let the Palestinian prisoners go to Gaza, Jordan, to Egypt, to Turkey, to anywhere.

“We must not do negotiations on the back of our Israeli hostages, women, children. We must do the prisoner exchange.

“We want our loved ones back. Once we do that the families will understand that we are giving everything. And the people will know we are doing it, and the world will know that.”

But Mr Carmon warned Israeli authorities will have to make agonising calls to worried families if negotiations fail and a prisoner swap is not rubber-stamped.

He added: “And if they refuse the prisoners exchange, we may call the families and ask them: ‘What are we to do? They are not giving you back your loved ones’.

“And we erase Hamas from the face of the Earth. But not without an offer to exchange all prisoners for all prisoners.”

It comes after the chilling final text from an  Israeli-French citizen snatched when Hamas stormed a music festival.

Mia Shem, 21, pleaded with her friend to “save us” as the Palestinian militants descended on the Supernova festival.

On Monday, Hamas released footage of a wounded Mia gazing tiredly into the camera with her arm wrapped in a sling.

In the short clip posed to Telegram, the 21-year-old explains she is being held in Gaza and begs to be released.

“They are taking care of me, giving me medicine, everything is fine,” she said in the video.

“I only ask that they bring me home as soon as possible to my parents, to my siblings. Get me out of here as soon as possible. Please.”

Those being held captive include both Israelis and nationals of other countries such as Thailand and Germany.

Other countries have reported their citizens as missing.

Israelis with dual nationality in countries including the US are also believed to have been kidnapped.

The spokesman of Hamas’ armed wing, Abu Obeida, said in a video message that Hamas has “a group of detainees of different nationalities, these are our guests and we seek to protect them.”

He added: “We will release detainees of different nationalities when circumstances on the ground allow.” He did not elaborate.

Another senior Hamas official, Moussa Abu Marzouk, said on Monday that “foreign prisoners cannot be released due to the continued Israeli bombing of the Gaza Strip.”

Israel’s military says the group is holding 199 hostages in Gaza – but Hamas says it has between 200 and 250.

EPAFriends and relatives of hostages held by Hamas militants in Gaza protest outside of the Israeli military base of The Kirya in Tel Aviv[/caption]

AFPThe aftermath of the horrifying Hamas rampage at a music festival where people were taken hostage[/caption]

GettyIt’s feared hostages are being held in Hamas’ sprawling underground tunnel network[/caption]

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