Gazans trapped as Israeli forces take over Rafah crossing

Gazans trapped as Israeli forces take over Rafah crossing
Gazans trapped as Israeli forces take over Rafah crossing

Families of hostages being held in Gaza called on the United States and other governments with citizens among the captives to pressure Israel to strike a deal with Hamas for their return.

Following indications on Monday of progress in talks towards a truth in the seven-month war, the Hostages and Missing Families Forum said it had appealed to a number of countries to “exert your influence on the Israeli government” and push for an agreement.

“At this crucial moment, while a tangible opportunity for the release of the hostages is on the table, it is of the utmost importance that your government manifests its strong support for such an agreement,” the group said in a message sent to the ambassadors of all countries with citizens among the hostages seized by Palestinian militants on 7 October.

“This is the time to exert your influence on the Israeli government and all other parties concerned to ensure that the agreement comes through which will finally bring all our loved ones home.”

During the Hamas-led 7 October attack, Palestinian militants seized around 250 hostages, who included foreigners and dual nationals, among them US, Thai, French, British, and Russian citizens.

Israel estimates 128 hostages remain in Gaza, including 35 the military says are dead.

Hostage families have been among those pressing through repeated protests for Israel to reach a deal with Hamas to bring home the captives.

Tuesday’s message came after Hamas announced late on Monday that it had accepted a ceasefire plan proposed by Egyptian and Qatari mediators, saying the ball was now in Israel’s court.

Israel said Monday it would examine the true proposal accepted by Hamas.

But at the same time, he sent tanks into Rafah and seized control of its border crossing with Egypt, the main entry point for aid to Gaza.

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