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Hostage families receive 'signs of life' from Hamas captives - startling report from Hebrew media

SIgning a deal before Ramadan appears unlikely as Israeli leaders warn of provocations during the Muslim holy month

Israelis attend a rally calling for the release of Israelis held kidnapped by Hamas terrorists in Gaza at "Hostage Square" in Tel Aviv, March 9, 2024. (Photo: Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

According to a report in N12 News, several dozen hostage families received information that appears to confirm their loved ones are still alive. 

The report, which was published Friday evening, is still under censorship restrictions from the IDF, and few details have been released. 

Also on Friday, several hostage family members and activists blocked the Daniel Interchange on Highway 1, burning tires, and calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to do whatever necessary to bring the hostages home. Some of the protesters sat in cages on the highway to symbolize the plight of the hostages in Gaza. 

"You are the head, ignore Ben-Gvir and Smotrich and bring home those you abandoned!” the protesters shouted. 

Several thousand Israelis participated in protests for the release of the hostages and called for immediate elections in Tel Aviv on Saturday evening. 

Several protesters called for an immediate ceasefire, arguing that Israel has no other choice in order to secure the release of the hostages from Gaza

However, the Hostage Families Forum said it wanted to wait to see the results of the current negotiations.

Mossad Director David Barnea traveled to Cairo, Egypt over the weekend to meet with CIA Director William Burns, as both sought to achieve a breakthrough in hostage negotiations before the start of Ramadan. 

For several weeks, U.S. President Joe Biden has been pushing for a ceasefire and hostage release deal to be completed before Ramadan, however, there has been little progress toward that end, and both Israel and Hamas have accused the other of being unwilling to compromise. 

Israel recently demanded a list of surviving hostages along with proof of life in exchange for continuing negotiations with Hamas for a deal. Hamas refused to provide the list, saying it wouldn't give that "valuable" information away for free.

The Mossad recently accused Hamas of wanting to “inflame the region during Ramadan.” 

“Hamas is doubling down on its position, uninterested in a deal, and seeks to inflame the region during Ramadan at the expense of the Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip,” the Mossad said in a statement Saturday evening. 

According to reports in Hebrew media, the War Cabinet, including Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and National Unity leader Benny Gantz, are united in their opinion that Hamas does not want a deal at the moment but hopes the period Ramadan will inflame the region and bring other actors into the war against Israel. 

On Saturday, Hamas released a statement saying that Israeli strikes have killed seven hostages, including many of the older men. The group did not provide proof of the claims and the IDF warned that the statement is part of Hamas' psychological warfare attempt to pressure the Israeli government.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Qatar, which hosts several Hamas leaders, has threatened the group with expulsion if it cannot achieve a breakthrough soon. 

With Ramadan set to begin on Sunday evening in Israel, a timely ceasefire deal seems increasingly unlikely.

Gallant recently warned that Iran is hoping to use Ramadan to stage another Oct. 7-type of attack, using terrorist operatives from the Palestinian territories in Judea and Samaria, internationally known as the West Bank.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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