Hamas hostage relatives call for international help in Paris

Israeli tank drives near the border with Gaza Strip

PARIS (Reuters) - Relatives of those held hostage by Hamas on Tuesday called on French authorities and the international community to help secure their release.

At a press conference organised by the Israeli Embassy in Paris, five people who have family members currently held in Gaza asked for international pressure to be put on Hamas and countries that host their members.

"We expect the French government to support us (and) to pressure those countries and not to sit with those countries," said Adva Gutman, a doctor whose sister, Tamar, 27, was taken hostage while attending a music festival in southern Israel.

There are an estimated 220 hostages held by Hamas, of which at least six have French nationality, taken during the incursion into Israel by Hamas on Oct. 7, which killed 1400 people.

Calls for a "humanitarian pause" have been mounting from international leaders as Israel enters the fourth week of its offensive on Gaza, which has killed more than 8,000 people.

As mediated negotiations on the hostage release were taking place, Israel rejected calls for a ceasefire.

Gutman said that "Hamas should bring them home and then we will talk about a ceasefire."

Amit Becher, president of the Israeli bar association, who accompanied the delegation, said that the European Union should put economic sanctions on Hamas leaders and countries that "shelter" Hamas leaders to force a hostage release

However, Ayelet Sella, who has seven family members currently held hostage in Gaza, said that the Israeli government is not doing enough.

"I feel that the priority should be to bring back the hostages. ... what the Israeli government is stating is not prioritising the hostages first and that is something that is not acceptable in my eyes," she said.

(Reporting by Layli Foroudi)