AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s been more than a month since Hamas attacked Israel and took hundreds of hostages into Gaza.
While some have been released, the fight to have the rest brought home continues on.
“We care about our brothers and sisters and families, this is our mission,” said Dori Roberts, who lives in Austin and lost his Aunt in the Hamas attacks.
Roberts is now speaking out about the hostages and urging leaders to do more to bring them home. He has five family members who were kidnapped.
On Thursday, Roberts and others who have had family members taken hostage spoke to the Austin community, telling their stories of loss and tragedy.
“My father Yitzhak was murdered,” said 14-year-old Ella Shani, who was at home in Israel when the attacks started.
Her uncle, Nir Shani’s home was burned down during the attacks.
“This is what I put on my face (holds up cloth) in order to not inhale all the smoke,” said Nir.
Nir’s top priority though is getting his son back; 16-year-old Amit was kidnapped and is now a hostage in Gaza.
“I am full of hope that my son is still alive,” Nir said.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman and local representative, Michael McCaul, recently met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He said they are working to bring home the hostages.
“There are currently negotiations between the United States, Israel and Hamas,” McCaul said. “We are hopeful to at least get the women and children out of Gaza and into safety.”
US Congressman Greg Casar said he wants to see an end to the loss of life.
“We need to stop so much killing of innocent civilians, because that endangers the safety of Israeli and Palestinians alike,” Casar said. It would be much better for the international community to come together, negotiate a ceasefire, stop Hamas and then finally create sovereignty and safety for both Israeli and Palestinians side-by-side.”
For the families speaking in Austin, they continue to hold on to hope that their loved ones will one day come home.
“We need the kidnapped to return,” Nir said.
Nir said more needs to be done to return the hostages and he will continue to share his story until that is done.