Race against time to rescue Hamas hostages as Israel threatens ground attack

Families of the hostages held by Hamas are living through a nightmare as time runs out to rescue them, as Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu threatens a ground assault in the coming days.

In recent days, there has been a growing sense of urgency among world leaders to resolve this crisis peacefully through diplomatic means.

The prospects of diplomacy, however, are under threat. The looming possibility of an Israeli ground invasion adds a volatile element to the mix and would make the freeing of hostages all the more difficult.

While such a move could be aimed at securing the release of the hostages, it also carries significant risks.

An escalation in military action could complicate negotiations and make a peaceful outcome even more challenging to achieve – something which families of the hostages are acutely aware of.

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For the Israeli families, this anguish is compounded by an added layer of fear. There’s a worry that Hamas might reject any potential deal involving their loved ones, even if they choose to release the other foreign nationals – and the certainty of their release is not even guaranteed.

The families of the hostages are left with virtually nothing to do but sit and wait, their hopes pinned on a phone call that could bring news of their loved ones’ safety. However, time is of the essence, and the window for diplomatic negotiations is rapidly closing.

Speaking to Sky News, Shai Wenkert, the father of Omer, 22, being held in Gaza, said he met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and he is confident his government will do it utmost to bring hostages back home.

He said: “We trust that they will do the right thing.

“We met with the Israeli prime minister. There was a meeting, they told us that this is one of the missions.”

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He added: “I hope they will do it step by step, for my hope, okay, take them out first. If you want to invade and you want to do a massive attack, you want to isolate Hamas because you compare them to ISIS, so it’s difficult.

“There are a lot of citizens over there. It’s not just to bomb them and – this is a step-by-step. I hope that the prime minister and the army, the IDF will do, first the humanitarian – take the citizens out.”

Stored on his phone are the last images Omer shared with the family: one capturing him alongside his childhood friend Kim Damti at the Supernova festival, tragically marked by a massacre, and another inside a bomb shelter, both poignant reminders of the fleeting moments of peace before chaos ensued.

Tragically, Kim’s was killed after these photos were taken.

Shai and his wife are desperate to reunite with their son.

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