Israeli President Isaac Herzog met with the families of Israeli captives held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday evening, the President’s Residence in Jerusalem said.
“I have just finished a deeply moving and painful meeting with the families of those who have been abducted and are missing in the terrible assault that Israel has endured,” the statement cited Herzog as saying.
“I met those who do not know the fate of their loved ones and those who know that they are in the hands of a cruel and brutal enemy. It was a difficult and painful meeting, but even so, we saw the strong, amazing spirit of the families—and Israeli society as a whole—in full force,” he continued.
‘The difficult journey that lies ahead’
On Saturday morning, Hamas terrorists infiltrated several Israeli communities, killing at least 900 people and taking at least 100 hostages back to Gaza. At least 2,700 people were wounded in shootouts and rocket attacks, and the death toll continues to climb.
Hamas has claimed to have captured more than 100 Israelis and taken them back to the Strip during the Oct. 7 terror raid.
An Israeli official denied on Monday that Jerusalem was negotiating, via Qatar, for the release of the hostages. A senior official later confirmed to JNS that Israel is not involved in any kind of talks related to the release of captives.
Tuesday’s meeting at the President’s Residence was also attended by IDF Brig. Gen. (res.) Gal Hirsch, tapped by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as coordinator for captives and the missing.
“We are working with dedication and around the clock in an effort to understand the full picture of the situation and bring you the information you are searching to receive. Along with the ongoing intelligence and operational effort as the war continues, we are engaged in a system for you to have easy contact with me and my team,” Hirsch told the families.
“My team and I are fully committed to the mission, and we are with you in the difficult journey that lies ahead, and in carrying the heavy burden to bring everyone back home,” he concluded.