The Unending Nightmare for Families of Hamas Hostages Not Included in Release Plans

November 24, 2023 By admin Off

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Ofri Bibas Levy has been haunted by nightmares since Oct. 7, when her brother, sister-in-law and their two young children were snatched by Hamas terrorists from their homes and dragged into the Gaza Strip.

In those dreams she sees her captive relatives, all except for her brother Yarden. That subconscious omission may reflect her ordeal: Only women and children are expected to be among the 50 hostages released during a four-day cease-fire between Israel and Hamas that started Friday.

All of the men, and many women, will remain captive in Gaza for now. It was not clear if all children were expected to be freed.

Hamas on Friday released 24 people, including 13 Israeli women and children, 10 people from Thailand and one Filipino.< "It's a deal that puts the families in a situation that is inhuman. Who will come out and who won't?" Bibas Levy asked. "The children come out, but my brother and many other people stay?"

Her nephews, age 10 months and 4 years, were some of the youngest taken captive. But none of her relatives were among those freed in the first release.

The deal will bring relief to dozens whose relatives are captive — as well as to Palestinians in Gaza who have endured weeks of bombardment and dire conditions.

But with some 240 hostages in terrorist hands, only a fraction of families will be reunited under the current arrangement. There is some hope that the agreement could be expanded: Israel has said it will extend the truce one day for every 10 hostages freed.

But many families are expected to be left to endure the torment of not knowing the fate of their loved ones.

The plight of the hostages — who include men, women, babies, children and older adults — has gripped Israelis. The captives’ families have embarked on a campaign to free their loved ones that has tugged at the heartstrings of many and ratcheted up-