British families of those being held hostage by Hamas are continuing to hold out hope, amid global diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the deadly conflict between Israel and Hamas.
The Foreign Office said officials were working “tirelessly” to save UK nationals, as the release of a Briton’s mother sparked hope of similar breakthroughs for other families.
Downing Street on Tuesday said that at least 12 British nationals were killed in Hamas’s attack on Israel and a further five are still missing, with some of them believed to have been kidnapped.
The release of 85-year-old Yocheved Lifshitz came as a reassurance to some families, with her London-based daughter Sharone Lifschitz telling reporters that hostages had been treated well and given medicine by their captors.
British psychotherapist Noam Sagi, whose elderly mother Ada is being held hostage by Hamas, said the release had offered “some hope” for the future.
Fewer than five Britons are believed to be among the hostages as officials fear that some of those missing have been killed.
A Foreign Office spokespersons said: “Our thoughts remain with the families of loved ones being held captive, as they endure unimaginable anguish and worry at this time.
“We will continue to work tirelessly with Qatar, Israel and others to ensure all hostages come home safely.”
We cannot lose sight of the evil that has caused suffering for so many.
Today, @tariqahmadbt and I met with the families of those who were murdered or are missing because of Hamas’ brutality.
The UK stands with you – now and always. pic.twitter.com/59FicquR8G
— James Cleverly🇬🇧 (@JamesCleverly) October 24, 2023
It comes as Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said he met with some of those whose family members were killed or are still missing.
In a post on social media, he said: “We cannot lose sight of the evil that has caused suffering for so many.”
The House of Lords held a debate on the escalating conflict on Tuesday night, as peers condemned the attack by Hamas.
It saw the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, warn that the heavier the casualties the less chance there is of securing peace.