CNN correspondent Nic Robertson arrived in Tel Aviv Saturday, after Hamas militants launched a surprise attack on Israel. Just hours later, Robertson was overcome with emotion while reporting on the “almost impossible task” of rescuing Israeli hostages taken by Hamas.
During a live report from Sderot, Israel, Robertson described the “extreme brutality” of a deadly attack on revelers at an Israeli music festival.
CNN anchor Abby Phillip then asked for an update on hostages taken during the coordinated attacks and what the Israeli government is doing to bring them home.
Robertson — who is the network’s international diplomatic editor — said the number of people kidnapped by Hamas was “large-ish,” although an exact figure remained unclear. He said he’d spoken with a major in the Israeli Defense Forces, who is also an IDF spokesman, about the fate of the hostages.
“I asked him, ‘How are you going to get these hostages back?’” Robertson said as he fought back tears. He paused, took a moment to regain his composure, then recalled what the IDF spokesman said.
“He told me that they were going to do everything in their power to get them back,” Robertson said. “‘No one would be left behind,’ he said. But I think I picked up from him the extreme difficulty that is presented here, because Hamas won’t give them up. And where they’re scattered, where they’re being held, underground tunnels, bunkers scattered across Gaza, it is an almost impossible task.”
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Citing the Israeli Embassy to the U.S., NBC News reported Sunday that “dozens” of people were taken hostage during the unprecedented attacks. The outlet said “women, children, the elderly and military service members are believed to be among those taken.”
Since Hamas fighters launched their attacks by land, sea and air, over 700 people have been killed in Israel, including some U.S. citizens, a National Security Council spokesperson said Sunday evening.
Meanwhile, The Gaza Ministry of Health told CBS News that at least 370 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli airstrikes in the Palestinian territory.
The Israeli government formally declared war on Hamas Sunday.