Thousands join Israeli hostage families in protest march

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STORY: Holding up Israeli flags and posters of the hostages, they concluded a four-day march that began at one of the sites hit in the October 7 attack by Hamas fighters and were expected to be joined by more protesters at a rally outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence.

U.S. President Joe Biden has said he hopes a ceasefire will be in place by the time of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which starts on March 10.

The United States, Egypt and Qatar have been mediating truce negotiations since January. The last deal led to a week-long pause in fighting in November, during which Hamas released more than 100 hostages, mostly women, teens and children, and Israel freed about three times as many Palestinian female and teen prisoners.

Almost five months into the war in Gaza, 134 hostages are still being held incommunicado in the coastal enclave, according to Israeli authorities. Among them are soldiers and civilians, men and women, a child and his baby brother. Dozens of hostages could be freed if a peace deal is reached.