HAMAS HAS SIX BRITISH HOSTAGES, GOVERNMENT FEARS The missing Britons are the government’s “absolute priority”

Six British nationals are suspected to be among those being held hostage by Hamas militants, a minister has said.

Victoria Atkins, financial secretary to the Treasury, said the missing Britons were the government’s “absolute priority”.

“It’s a very, very fast-moving situation, but the latest figure I’ve been given is that there are suspected to be six British nationals,” she told reporters.

Asked whether they were missing or being held hostage, she said: “We understand … that they are hostages.

“I do acknowledge that it’s a very fast-moving situation and that figure may or may not change, and I know how difficult that must be for the families and the friends at home here in the UK who are grappling with incredible worry and concern about their loved ones.”

Ms Atkins earlier confirmed that the number of Britons killed either during or since Hamas’s surprise attack on Israel had risen from nine to 10.

Among the dead are two teenagers, a soldier, people visiting Israel on holiday, and a music festival security guard.

Hamas released two Israeli hostages on Monday night, after releasing two US citizens on Friday.  Yocheved Lifshitz and Nurit Cooper were taken from their homes by Hamas militants during the 7 October raids.  After murdering 1,300 people including entire families, children and babies, sixteen days later, Hamas said it was releasing them for “humanitarian reasons”.