In their first comment about the fate of two soldiers whose capture triggered a monthlong war between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas last summer, Israeli officials said Wednesday the two were seriously wounded, raising the prospect they may no longer be alive.
The Israeli military censor allowed publication of the existence of the report on Wednesday, and local media broadcast sketchy details.
"If they did not receive immediate medical treatment, there is grave concern for their lives," Israel TV military correspondent Yoav Limor said on the nightly TV newscast.
Hezbollah has not released any details on the conditions of the soldiers, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, or provided any signs that they are alive.
Also Wednesday, U.N. aid groups said international sanctions and Israel limits on Gaza exports have devastated the Palestinian economy and that they are asking for a record $450-million to staunch a deepening humanitarian crisis.
According to the United Nations, 65 percent of Palestinians were living in poverty and 29 percent were unemployed. The Palestinian health care system was running out of medicine and on the verge of collapse, and nearly 50 percent of Palestinians did not have reliable access to food.