IDF says number of confirmed hostages held by Hamas rises to 239

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari says the military has so far notified the families of 239 hostages that their loved ones are being held in the Gaza Strip.

He says the number is not final, as the military investigates new information.

“It’s an unfathomable number. There are foreign workers among the hostages, it takes us time to reach everyone’s families,” he says.

The number does not include four released hostages — mother and daughter Judith and Natalie Ra’anan on Friday night, and elderly women Yocheved Lifshitz and Nurit Cooper on Monday night.

He says the number of missing people whose fates are currently unknown stands at 40.

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