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Family beg for answers after two American men detained by IDF after Gaza raid

The Israeli Defence Force has reportedly detained two Americans they encountered during a raid at a home in Gaza.

Relatives of Hashem Alagha, 20, and Borak Alagha, 18, said the brothers were with a group of approximately 20 others who were rounded up by the IDF after a raid.

Yasmeen Elagha, the men's cousin, said both of them are American citizens who were born in the Chicago suburbs, according to CNN. She said her cousins stayed in Chicago into their early childhood, after which they moved.

The men's father is also reportedly a Canadian citizen, according to Ms Elagha.

Hashem and Borak's mother was reportedly present during the raid. She told Ms Elagha that IDF forces broke through a door while the group of men were sleeping, tied up the women and children, and took the men into custody.

She does not know where the men were allegedly taken.

Ms Elagha said that the home the IDF raided belongs to her uncle and that her family has no ties to Hamas.

The US State Department is aware that the IDF has detained a pair of American citizens.

“We are aware of these reports and we are currently seeking additional information, but I don’t have any additional information to share and would not be able to at this point, given privacy considerations,” Vedant Patel, the State Department Deputy Spokesperson, said during a press briefing.

Ms Elagha's accusations come just on the heels of another set of damning allegations made the by Palestinian Red Crescent Society that claim Israel intentionally killed a little girl, her family, and the paramedics sent to rescue them.

Hind Rajab, who was killed in Gaza (Family Handout/AFP/Getty)
Hind Rajab, who was killed in Gaza (Family Handout/AFP/Getty)

And those allegations followed a scathing report released by Amnesty International on Monday, which found Israel displayed “a chilling disregard for Palestinian lives” and went so far as to suggest a war crimes investigation was warranted.

US officials have been trying to negotiate a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas to facilitate hostage exchanges and to allow for a "humanitarian pause" to the fighting. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not been receptive to calls for a ceasefire thus far.

Gaza (AP)
Gaza (AP)

“Surrender to the ludicrous demands of Hamas — which we’ve just heard — won’t lead to the liberation of the hostages, and it will only invite another massacre,” Ms Netanyahu said during a press conference following a ceasefire discussion.

Mr Blinken said the US cannot force Israel to agree to a ceasefire, according to the New York Times.

“It will be up to Israelis to decide what they want to do, when they want to do it, how they want to do it,” Mr Blinken said. “No one’s going to make those decisions for them. All that we can do is to show what the possibilities are, what the options are, what the future could be, and compare it to the alternative. And the alternative right now looks like an endless cycle of violence and destruction and despair.”