As Israel and Hamas Move Toward Hostages’ Release, Families Wait With Hope and Fear

Families are unsure whether their loved ones will be returned when the planned cease-fire goes into effect.

As Israel and Hamas indicated that they were preparing a cease-fire to free 50 hostages

some families of those kidnapped to Gaza last month were torn between growing optimism that their loved ones would return and a gnawing fear that the deal would fall through — or worse, that they would be left behind.

"If we've been on a roller coaster, now we're going up," said Gili Roman, whose sister Yarden Roman was kidnapped from Be'eri, a Gaza border kibbutz, during the Oct.

7 Hamas-led attack. "I'm afraid that the higher we go, the further we'll fall." There's a lot of worry."

The Israeli government and Hamas announced Wednesday that they would maintain a brief cease-fire in Gaza to allow the release of some of the approximately 240 hostages held by Hamas and other militant groups.

The Israeli decision, announced in a WhatsApp message by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office, would allow for a four-day pause in the fighting in Gaza. 

If it holds, it will be the longest cease-fire since Hamas's Oct. 7 attacks prompted Israel to launch its bombardment and ground invasion of Gaza.

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