Hamas said on Saturday it has lost contact with a group responsible for five Israeli hostages being held captive in the Gaza Strip due to Israeli bombardment.
The Palestinian Islamist group believes the hostages were killed during an Israeli raid, Abu Ubaida, the spokesman for the armed wing of Hamas, al-Qassam Brigades, was quoted as saying in a statement on the group's Telegram channel.
Reuters was not able to verify the report and there was no immediate response from the Israeli authorities.
Israel says Hamas seized around 240 hostages when it killed 1,200 people in a rampage around southern Israel on Oct. 7.
Hamas said last month that more than 60 hostages were missing due to Israeli air strikes. There has been no confirmation of that number but Israel believes that 20 or more of some 130 hostages still held in Gaza are dead.
The militants released more than 100 hostages as part of a week-long ceasefire agreement at the end of November that included the release of 240 Palestinian woman and teenagers from Israeli jails.
Families of the hostages held a new rally on Saturday, demanding that Israel consider releasing senior Palestinian militants from jail in any new swap deal.
Reporting by Ali Sawafta; Writing by Adam Makary and Ahmed Tolba; Editing by Tomasz Janowski, Mike Harrison and Philippa Fletcher