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Brother of Israeli twins being held hostage in Gaza separately says 'I think they sense each other'

It's been a long and agonising 150 days for the families of hostages still inside Gaza, and every hour right now must feel like a lifetime as negotiations for a new ceasefire progress slowly. 

Liran Berman's brothers, Ziv and Gali, were taken from Kfar Aza on 7 October. The twins are being held separately in Gaza, according to testimony from released hostages who saw them.

"They were separated early on, but I still think they sense each other. Twins have a special bond so they can sense each other," Liran told me as we met near the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem.

"We have no video of the kidnapping, we have no visual confirmation from Gaza, only from the released hostages. So we have nothing.

"They are very strong, they have the ability to brush problems off of them, they are very humorous, but they are in hell.

"But in hell they have the ability, I hope, to cope with everything."

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Talks are ongoing in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, but Israel has refused to send a delegation so far in protest at Hamas's refusal to release information on which hostages are dead or alive.

"I'm very focused," Liran said. "I try not to listen to the news - only official announcements.

"Hope will die last, we have nothing but hope, and it gives us a lot of strength.

"We know only through a deal will my brothers come back."

The wait is taking its toll on the families, who have been living for almost five months with little information on the whereabouts or status of their loved ones.

"I don't have the luxury of letting myself down," Liran said.

He continued: "I have two little kids, I have a wife. I'm not the best husband, I'm not the best father but I'm doing whatever I can to keep myself focused on the release of my brothers and I will treat myself once they are here.

"It's not easy - it's not easy at all. The most difficult times are at night. You are alone with your thoughts. I sleep only with medication. I worry about the day after, about the effects of what I'm doing to myself but I'm not in a position to let it go right now."

Though there has been criticism and widespread protests by families of the hostages who feel the government should be doing more, Liran is supportive of the Israeli government's efforts to get his brothers home.

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"I'm confident Israel is doing all it can to release the hostages," he said.

"Life moves on, sadly, people move on, there are other conflicts in the world.

"This is a humanitarian crisis. My brothers are civilians - they got kidnapped from their beds on a holiday in their pyjamas.

"They have nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - nothing. Life is moving forward - people have a tendency to forget, but we won't let anyone forget."