Relatives of dozens of Israeli hostages still held by Hamas’ military arm in the Gaza Strip continued their four-day march to Jerusalem on Friday, protesting and pressuring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to strike a deal to free them.

About a thousand of their supporters marched with them yesterday, on the third day of their march, according to a report in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Every effort must be made to return the hostages to their homes, reiterated Benny Gantz, former defense minister now a member of Israel’s wartime government.

Mr Gantz took part in part of the march yesterday, according to its organisers, the Forum of Families of Hostages and Missing Persons.

On the third day of the march, which reached Beit Shemesh, 30 kilometers west of Jerusalem, participants carried 134 stretchers, the same number of abductees who according to Israeli sources are still being held in the Gaza Strip.

According to estimates in Israel, about a hundred hostages are alive.

About one hundred and fifty relatives of hostages started the march from Raim, near the Gaza Strip, on Wednesday morning. They are expected to arrive in Jerusalem within the day.

An Israeli Arab marcher, whose brother and nephew are still being held hostage, expressed hope that his family would be with him again when Ramadan begins. “We want everyone to go home,” he said.

Ramadan will start this year on the 10th or 11th of March.

Israel/Hamas indirect talks have yet to reach an agreement on declaring a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip and in exchange for the release of hostages.

Other hostages’ relatives demonstrated in parallel yesterday in Tel Aviv, blocking a main road near a US diplomatic mission building and throwing smoke bombs, Israeli media reported.