Families pressure Israeli government for release of Gaza hostages

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STORY: Almost every day in Tel Aviv, families of hostages and their supporters gather to protest, blocking traffic as they voice demands for their loved ones' return.

Almost half of the hostages were released by Hamas during a brief truce in November, while Israel released hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.

On Monday, Israeli special forces freed two hostages in a rescue operation in Rafah, a town on the Gaza Strip's border with Egypt packed with war refugees, where the prospect of wider operations has worried Cairo and Washington.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday that a deal on the release of hostages held by Hamas remains possible but "very hard" issues remain to be resolved.

Hamas killed 1,200 people in Israel and abducted 253 on Oct. 7, according to Israeli tallies. The response was a military assault on Gaza that has killed more than 28,663 people, mostly civilians, according to Gaza's health ministry, and forced nearly all of its roughly 2 million inhabitants from their homes.