Thousands protest in Israeli cities to condemn Netanyahu for failing to recover hostages

The rallies took place in some 50 locations across Israel and came just hours after the IDF returned the body of hostage Elad Katzir to Israel


Protesters set a fire and hold flame torches during a demonstration calling for a hostages deal and against the Israeli government, Tel Aviv, April 6, 2024 (Credit: Amir Levy/Getty Images)

Tens of thousands of people in Tel Aviv and thousands more in other Israeli cities demonstrated against Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday and his government’s inability to free the around 130 hostages who still remain in Gaza.

Estimates put the number of demonstrators as high as 100,000 people in Tel Aviv and tens of thousands more at about 50 other locations across Israel.

The rallies followed the recovery and return to Israel of the remains of hostage Elad Katzir earlier in the day.

Protesters reportedly chanted “Elad, we’re sorry” and “elections now”.

Israeli media reported confrontations between security forces and protesters in Tel Aviv after fires were started, leading to police forcibly dispersing the crowd.

Haaretz reported that people also chanted, “Police, police who exactly are you guarding?” and “Ben-Gvir is a terrorist”, referring to Israel’s minister of national security.

A car ploughed into the crowds in Tel Aviv, injuring five. Police have detained the driver for questioning while authorities investigate his motives and that of the passenger’s, Israel’s i24 News reported.

Israeli political leaders denounced the apparent ramming attack, with Benny Gantz calling it “horrific”.

The demonstrations were the latest in a series of large anti-government protests demanding Netanyahu step down.

It comes as ceasefire negotiations are set to restart in Cairo, mediated by Qatar, Egypt and the United States. Israel was purportedly undecided on whether to attend, citing that the event would likely be “more political theatre than actual progress.”

CIA Director Bill Burns will attend the talks along with his Egyptian counterpart, as well as a representative from Hamas.

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