SCUFFLES between Israeli police and protesters erupted in Tel Aviv after thousands gathered to demonstrate against the government and demand it brings back the hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza.

Some protesters carried photos of the female soldiers who appeared in a video earlier in the week showing them soon after they were abducted during the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7.

Others held banners reading “Stop the war” and “Help”. They called on the government to reach a deal to release the dozens of hostages still in captivity.

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The protesters also called for the resignation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and demanded an election.

“We all saw the video, we could not stay at home after the government abandoned all these people,” said Hilit Sagi, from the campaign group Women Protest for the Return of All Hostages.

Divisions among Israelis have deepened over how Netanyahu has handled the war after the attack that killed about 1200 people and saw 250 others taken hostage. Israel says around 100 hostages are still being held in Gaza, along with the bodies of around 30 more.

Snir Dahan, the uncle of hostage Carmel Gat who remains in captivity in Gaza, said: “They are not doing enough in order for the hostages to come back, either with military force, with (a) hostages deal, negotiating. Nothing is being done.”

Earlier in the week, the bodies of three hostages were recovered from Gaza, Israel’s army said on Friday. The army said they were killed on the day of the attack and their bodies were taken to Gaza.

The announcement came less than a week after the army said it had found the bodies of three other Israeli hostages killed on October 7.

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Around half of the 250 hostages taken by Hamas and other militants have been freed, most in swaps for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel during a brief ceasefire in November.

Netanyahu’s government has faced increasing pressure, both at home and abroad, to stop the war and allow humanitarian aid into the enclave that is home to 2.3 million Palestinians, almost 80% of whom have been displaced.

Israeli bombardments are continuing in Gaza, and the health ministry said on Sunday the bodies of 81 people killed by Israeli strikes have been brought to local hospitals over the past 24 hours.

That brings the overall Palestinian death toll from the war to at least 35,984, said the ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and fighters in its count.