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Families in Israel and abroad wait in agony for word of their loved ones taken hostages by militants
One of those taken hostage is a grandmother who learned Arabic in hopes of building bridges with her neighbors
TEL AVIV (AP) — One of those taken hostage is a grandmother who learned Arabic in hopes of building bridges with her neighbors. Others include 11 members of an extended family, one an elderly man in a wheelchair who requires hospital care. Still another is a nurse who delivered thousands of babies over the years to parents both Israeli and Palestinian.
All are among roughly 150 people abducted by Hamas militants early Saturday during sweeping raids on Israeli towns and villages near the heavily fortified border with the Gaza Strip. They include citizens of Brazil, Britain, Italy, the Philippines and the United States, as well as many Israelis. The number of hostages, provided by Hamas and Israeli officials, has not been independently confirmed.
Militants have vowed to start killing hostages if Israel’s airstrikes target civilians inside Gaza without first providing a warning allowing them to flee. It has placed the families and friends of those taken in a terrifying and desperate situation, with little they can do but wait.
Noam Sagi, a psychotherapist who lives in London, believes his mother, Ada, who turns 75 next week, is among those taken hostage. He hasn’t heard from her since early Saturday morning when she called him from a panic room at Kibbutz Nir Oz, a communal settlement near the southeastern border with Gaza.