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OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: The Israeli military said Sunday it had confirmed 126 people held as hostages by Hamas since the Palestinian group staged their deadly attack eight days earlier.

Authorities had initially estimated about 150 Israeli and foreign captives after Hamas launched its October 7 attack that killed at least 1,300 in Israel.

Heavy Israeli bombardment since has killed over 2,300 in the Palestinian enclave and tens of thousands of troops have massed along Gaza’s border in readiness for an invasion.

Military spokesman Richard Hecht also said that 286 Israeli soldiers had now been killed in military operations launched in response to the unprecedented Hamas attacks.

Gaza braces for Israeli ground assault, fears of conflict spreading grow

Israeli officials say the number of known hostages had been revised down as bodies from the Hamas attack sites in southern Israel have been found and identified.

Hecht told a briefing that 126 hostages had been “confirmed”.

The figure was up from 120 reported on Saturday, and officials cautioned the number was likely to keep changing in coming days.

The military has also said its forces had found the bodies of some of the hostages in raids into Gaza, without providing a number.

Hamas has claimed that 22 hostages were killed in Israeli strikes, without providing evidence.

It has warned it will kill hostages in response to unannounced Israeli strikes on civilians targets.

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