CNN reporter Nic Robertson fell silent during a live report from Israel on Sunday as he discussed the prospects of rescuing hostages held in Gaza.
Over the weekend, Hamas launched a shocking attack on Israel, prompting the Israeli government to declare war and retaliate. Israeli authorities said dozens of prisoners were being held hostage in Gaza, but exact numbers were not confirmed. Hamas claimed on Sunday it held more than 100 hostages.
Robertson, CNN’s international diplomatic editor, was anchored by Abby Phillips and reported from Sderot, a city in western Israel near the Gaza Strip.
He told a conversation with an Israeli military spokesman as he became emotional as he recalled asking the major, “How are you going to get these hostages back?”
Robertson paused briefly as he regained his composure.
“I’m sorry, Abby,” he said, continuing, “He told me they would do everything in their power to get her back. No one will be left behind, he said. But I think I adopted the extreme difficulty presented here from him. Because Hamas won’t give them up.”
“And where they are scattered, where they are being held, in underground tunnels, in bunkers scattered across Gaza – it is an almost impossible task.”
The death toll in the conflict has already surpassed 1,000, with more than 700 deaths reported in Israel and nearly 500 in Gaza.
The captured hostages also include civilians, including elderly women and children. according to Israeli authorities.
Hamas has said it seeks the release of all Palestinian prisoners held by Israel in exchange for the prisoners. the Associated Press reported.
According to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, more than 4,500 Palestinians are behind bars in Israel.