(Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu He said in an interview broadcast Sunday that “enough” of the 132 Israeli hostages held in Gaza are alive to justify Israel’s ongoing war in the region.

When asked how many of the hostages are still alive, Netanyahu said “enough to justify the kind of efforts we are making.”

“We are going to try to do everything possible to recover everyone who is alive and, frankly, also the bodies of the dead,” he said in the interview with ABC’s “This Week.”

Netanyahu also said that one Palestinian civilian has been killed for every Hamas fighter killed in Gaza.

Health authorities in Hamas-controlled Gaza estimate that about 28,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed in the region since the conflict began in October.

Palestinian health authorities say around 70% of the dead are women or children under 18 years of age. The World Health Organization has described the Palestinian Health Ministry’s system for reporting casualties as “very good” and UN agencies regularly cite its casualty figures.

Hamas gunmen killed 1,200 Israelis and took about 250 hostages to Gaza in an Oct. 7 attack that sparked the conflict.

(Reporting by Jasper Ward and Leah Douglas; Editing by Paul Simao)

By Sam