The Israeli army said Wednesday that the International Committee of the Red Cross "must have access to the hostages" still being held by Palestinian militants in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

"As the IDF (military) expands its operations to dismantle Hamas in Gaza, we have not lost sight... of our critical mission to rescue our hostages," army spokesman Daniel Hagari said.

"The international community must take action. The Red Cross must have access to the hostages that are in the hands of Hamas."