Protesters seeking hostages' release smear paint in Israeli parliament

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A group of Israelis demanding their government do more to free hostages held by Hamas in Gaza protested in parliament on Wednesday with some smearing paint on the partition between the visitors' gallery and the plenum.

"Now! Now!" they chanted at lawmakers below, leaving the glass streaked with yellow - the colour of their campaign - as ushers bundled them out.

The protest followed three days of anti-government demonstrations in Jerusalem when thousands took to the streets calling for more action to free the hostages and new elections to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Of 253 people seized by Hamas during its cross-border rampage on Oct. 7 that triggered the Gaza war, 134 remain in captivity and incommunicado in the Palestinian enclave.

Israeli officials have declared at last 35 of them dead in absentia, and relatives and friends fear for the fate of the rest as the conflict drags on.

Qatar and Egypt have been trying to mediate a Gaza ceasefire that might secure the release of at least some of the hostages. But Hamas has demanded that any deal lead to an end to the war, while Israel insists it would resume the offensive to destroy the Palestinian Islamist group.

(Wrtiing by Dan Williams; editing by Mark Heinrich)