Photos of the hostages
Photos of the hostagesMiriam Alster/FLASH90

On October 7, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Gazan "civilians" took about 250 Israelis and foreigners hostage to Gaza.

In November 2023, over 100 of those hostages were freed in a deal which saw convicted terrorists released from prison. That deal broke down when Hamas refused to release the remainder of the civilian women and children held captive in Gaza: To date, about a dozen civilian women and two children - Ariel and Kfir Bibas, ages 4 and 1 - remain in Gaza. They are among 116 hostages still held in the Hamas-controlled enclave, as Hamas refuses to agree to a deal unless it includes an end to the war which would allow the terror group to regroup and regain full control of Gaza.

Now, according to the Wall Street Journal, mediators in the talks and a US official familiar with the latest US intelligence have placed the number of hostages still alive as potentially just 50.

The assessment is based partly on Israeli intelligence, and if true, it would mean that 66 of the hostages still in Gaza may be dead - a full 25 more than the 41 hostages who Israel has publicly acknowledged as dead.

Israel does not announce that a hostage is dead until intelligence, video analyses, and DNA tests have confirmed the findings.

The US Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Prime Minister's Office, and the IDF all declined comment to WSJ. Hamas did not respond to requests for comment, but has admitted in the past that it does not know exactly how many hostages remain alive.

In February, WSJ reported that as many as 50 of the hostages could be dead, basing its report on an Israeli assessment shared with both the US and Egypt. Many of those dead were killed on October 7, though others have died or been killed during their time in captivity.

Though Israel has consistently refused to trade live, convicted terrorists for dead bodies in the first phase of a prisoner swap deal, WSJ noted that in its latest proposal to Hamas, Israel caved on its demand for living hostages, agreeing to accept dead bodies in their stead.