Familes continue to call for the return of dozens of hostages – including women and children – who were abducted by Hamas during the group’s unprecedented attack last week.
The family members of dozens of hostages taken by Hamas militants protested in front of Israel’s defence ministry in Tel Aviv on Saturday to call for the immediate release of their loved ones.
Liri Elbag is one of the people believed to be held hostage by Hamas. Her mother was one of the number taking part in the demonstration.
“This is my daughter, Liri Elbag. She was kidnapped in her pyjamas,” Shira Elbad said while holding up a picture of her child.
“[She was taken] to Gaza. And I want her back now. She was in the military, she was in the army base. She’s 18 years old, just a child. But she doesn’t want to fight. Nobody wants to fight. I believe also in Gaza they don’t want to fight. Nobody wants to fight. Everybody just wants to live.”
Avichai Brodetz’s wife and two children were abducted in their home near the border with Gaza.
He has not heard from them since.
He initiated the gathering in front of the ministry to deliver his message to the world.
“There is a reason it has been done,” Brodetz said. “Somebody or something is trying to tell us something. What I want to believe is [they are] trying to tell us ‘peace not war.’ We’re all humans. Nobody wants dead children.”
In Hamas’ assault on southern Israel which has killed more than 1,300 people, the group’s fighters captured dozens of Israelis and some foreign or dual nationals, including children, women and the elderly, dragging them into the Gaza Strip.
Israel estimates that at least 150 people were taken captive. Their fate is becoming ever more complicated as Israel continues its bombardment of Gaza.
Hamas has claimed that more than 20 captives were killed in Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip.
In response, the Israel Defence Forces has reported that they have found the bodies of hostages, but have not confirmed how many.
But according to Euronews correspondent Valerie Gauriat, who was at the protest, some of the attendees called for the end of government policies that they believe contributed to what happened on 7 October.
“To be against Hamas does not mean that we have to kill one child in Gaza,” Chitayat Kashi, an activist, told Euronews.
According to the Gaza Health Ministry, at least 2,329 Palestinians have been killed since the Israel-Hamas war began, while the enclave’s 2.3 million civilians are facing a deepening struggle for food, water and safety.
And its hospitals are expected to run out of fuel within two days, according to the UN.