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Man held hostage by Hamas has South Florida connection

Man held hostage in Gaza has South Florida connection
Man held hostage in Gaza has South Florida connection 02:27

MIAMI - It's a horrifying reality that's hard to fathom.

"It's been impossible," said Gillian Kaye, a Sarasota resident whose stepson was kidnapped by Hamas.

Her 35-year-old stepson, Sagui Dekel-Chen, spotted the Hamas militants in Israel on October 7th while he was on his way to the store before the attacks started.

"He saw terrorists begin to break through the fence and come into the kibbutz, he immediately turned around. He sent out an alarm to everyone," said Kaye.

Dekel-Chen rushed home to his pregnant wife, who's due any day now, and two young daughters, trying to protect them before the militants arrived.

"He managed to jerry-rig their safe room so that they were protected and that they were not killed," said Kaye.

Kaye says as her stepson's family hid, he and a few other brave men tried to fight off Hamas, but they were taken as hostages to Gaza.

Dekel-Chen's wife and his two and six-year-old daughters were taken to southern Israel, something that's been incredibly difficult for his eldest daughter to deal with.

"She understands and she cries for him all the time," said Kaye.

Though Israel and Hamas have reached a temporary agreement for a ceasefire in exchange for hostages, Kaye believes it may be some time until her stepson is released.

"We are not confident Sagui will be one of them, it seems they're holding the men, the younger men back," said Kaye.

Kaye said her husband, who is a dual citizen of Israel and America like her stepson, has been overseas ever since, trying to get his son home.

The family isn't giving up hope on Dekel-Chen or the other hostages, and they say they're willing to fight for them until the very end.

"He is a hostage in Gaza for more than seven weeks, going on two months and we need to remember that they are people who need to come home," said Kaye.

CBS News Miami asked Kaye if her family has received any indication of when Dekel-Chen will be released, and she said they have not.

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