Kfir Bibas
An arrangement set to honor hostage Kfir Bibas on his first birthday AFP

As the Israel-Hamas war rages on more than 100 days since its beginning, communities around the world are holding events to bring attention to the fact that Kfir Bibas, an Argentine-Israeli baby kidnapped during the October 7 attacks perpetrated by the militant group, is turning one year old on Thursday.

Kfir is the youngest of the some 130 hostages believed to be still held captive in Gaza. Hamas spokespeople have said that he and his five-year-old brother and mother, Ariel and Shiri, were killed weeks ago by an airstrike, even publishing a video of their father, Yarden, pleading the Israeli government reaches a deal to allow their bodies to return to Israel.

However, statements of the kind have been proven to be false in the past, so there is no certainty about the state of the Bibas family, who lived in kibbutz Nir Oz, one of the communities most affected by the attack in which more than 1,200 people were killed and around 250 taken hostage.

According to AFP, 27 hostages are believed to have been killed, the fate of the rest mostly unknown. The latest development concerning the hostages took place on Wednesday, as medicine for them and Palestinian civilians was set to start arriving in Gaza under a deal mediated by Qatar and France.

Forty-five hostages are expected to receive medication under the agreement, according to the French presidency. After the drugs arrive at a hospital in the southern Gaza border town of Rafah on Wednesday, it said, they will be received by the International Committee of the Red Cross, divided into batches and immediately transferred to the hostages.

Hamas released dozens of hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel during a November ceasefire mediated by Qatar, which hosts the group's political office. No arrangements of the kind have been made since, with both sides getting further away from each other after the killing of Saleh al-Arouri, Hamas' deputy leader, in Lebanon in early January.

The Israeli public has kept up intense pressure on Netanyahu's government to secure the return of the hostages, with officials repeatedly insisting military pressure is necessary to bring about any kind of deal. On Tuesday, Israel said its operation will soon enter a less intensive phase.

In Israel
A neon sign reading "Bring them home", referring to the hostages held in Gaza since the October 7 attacks, is displayed in Tel Aviv AFP

Meanwhile, fears of an all-out war across the Middle East have continued to mount, with violence involving regional allies of Iran-backed Hamas -- considered a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union -- surging since the war began.

Meanwhile, Iran carried out a missile attack in Iraq's Kurdistan region against what its Revolutionary Guards alleged was an Israeli spy headquarters and a "gathering of anti-Iranian terrorist groups".

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