'The worst nightmare has happened': Families plead for lives of children kidnapped by Hamas

Relatives of loved ones kidnapped by Hamas have told ITV News about the desperate anguish they feel as they plead for the return of their family, Sejal Karia reports

Distraught families are living through their "worst nightmare" as they beg for the safe return of their children after they were kidnapped by Hamas.

As more than 150 people are feared to have been abducted into Gaza and with a ground invasion looming, relatives are frantic with worry about their loved ones.

Shiri, and her children Ariel, four, and nine-month-old Kafir were kidnapped from their home near the Gaza border by Hamas militants.

Footage of the capture shows the terrified Israeli mother clutching her two young children in a desperate bid to protect them. They have not been seen since.

Shiri's cousin, Yifat Zailer, told ITV News: "The worst nightmare has happened and I haven't slept since.

"I can't close my eyes. I can only think about them and the other families."

Ariel, four, and nine-month-old Kafir. Credit: Supplied

She said through tears: "I feel so hopeless, I feel like I have nothing to do other than speak to the entire world and show their faces and tell the story."

They are not the only family who have been kidnapped.

Doron and her daughters Avi, two, and Rab, four, were also taken by the militants as they stormed out of Gaza.

The mother is seen on footage holding Avi as gunmen bundle them onto the back of a pick-up truck.

Doron clutching one of her daughters as she is loaded in to the back of a Hamas truck. Credit: ITV News

Doron's sister, Leeor Katz Natanzon, told ITV News the children had done "nothing wrong with their lives" and she "just wanted them back."

Just hours before the attack, Doron had sent a picture to Leeor of her children looking happy to let her family know they were safe.

"Hamas soldiers went inside the houses, starting to set the house on fire," said Leeor.

Speaking directly to her family, Leoor said: "We love you, we're waiting for you to come back.

"I just want them back, please."

As Israel strikes with missile attacks on targets in Gaza, families of those being held by Hamas grapple with the knowledge that it could come at the cost of their loved ones' lives.

The group has warned it will kill one of the hostages every time Israel’s military bombs civilian targets in Gaza without warning.

Israel’s foreign minister, Eli Cohen, said the country is committed to bringing the hostages home and issued a warning to Hamas, which controls Gaza.

“We demand Hamas not to harm any of the hostages," he said. “This war crime will not be forgiven.”

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