The Israeli military said on Sunday that the hostages, all Israelis, had tried to use leftover food to create signs calling for help. The men emerged shirtless from a building, carrying a makeshift white flag, and tried to tell approaching Israeli soldiers in Hebrew that they were civilians, the military said.
The deaths have created widespread anguish in Israel, and prompted renewed calls for a pause in the fighting to allow more hostages to be released. On Monday, Hamas released the first video of hostages since the exchange agreement collapsed.
The video showed three men, bearded and seated. One of them speaks to the camera and identifies himself as a 79-year-old from the Nir Oz kibbutz, where Hamas militants kidnapped more than 70 people. The video includes subtitles in English that do not directly correspond to the Hebrew words used by the hostage, who pleads for the release of the captives.
The Israeli government and military have dismissed such videos as “psychological warfare.”
At the United Nations on Monday, the Security Council pushed back by a day a vote on a resolution calling for more humanitarian aid routes into Gaza by air, land and sea. The resolution also calls for the immediate release of the hostages and a sustainable halt to the fighting. The United States has vetoed past resolutions calling for an immediate, permanent cease-fire.
Concern has also been growing about Iranian-backed Houthi militants in Yemen launching drone and missile attacks on merchant ships in the Red Sea, a vital shipping lane that has become increasingly dangerous. Over the weekend, Britain and the United States said their militaries had shot down more than a dozen drones in the area.
On Monday, Mr. Austin said, “Iran’s support for Houthi attacks on commercial vessels must stop.”
Soon after, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, a senior member of the Houthis, defended the attacks as an effort to force Israel to stop its military assault in Gaza. The United States, he said, has “no right to speak about international law, which your airstrikes and rockets have torn up and buried under the ruins of Gaza and Yemen.”
The war began after the Hamas-led attack on southern Israel on Oct. 7, which Israeli officials say killed about 1,200 people. About 240 people were taken hostage. Health officials in Gaza say nearly 20,000 people have been killed in the Israeli response.