Source: Guardian UK
Pressure has intensified on Israel to negotiate the release of more than 200 people held by Palestinian militants in Gaza, with desperate families begging officials to help free their loved ones before an anticipated ground invasion.
An Israeli military spokesperson announced on Sunday that more than 212 people were held in Gaza, as officials worked to identify and locate those missing after a deadly incursion by Hamas on 7 October.
On Sunday evening, a group of families of those held hostage in Gaza met the Israeli president, Isaac Herzog, at his residence in Jerusalem for almost two hours, as crowds gathered outside, singing songs of mourning.
“Don’t forget us,” one woman called to the crowd – a sea of yellow ribbons, Israeli flags and signs reading “bring them home”.
“The message from the president is that the whole leadership came together to resolve this crisis,” said Eyal Eshel, the father of 19-year-old Roni Eshel, who was serving at a military base near the border with Gaza. “I want to tell the only person that can resolve this, prime minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu: you recruited our girls, our request is you bring them home – all of them.”