Updated February 20th, 2024 at 07:26 IST

Israel Gives Hamas Deadline to Return Hostages, Warns of Attacks in Rafah City

More than 1 million displaced Palestinians have already fled towards the southern city of Rafah.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu. | Image:AP
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Israel on Monday gave a deadline to the Palestinian terror group Hamas to return the hostages, warning that an assault will be launched in the heavily crowded city of Rafah. Israel said that Hamas has until the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to return the remaining hostages held in its captivity.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has remained defiant in launching a ground assault in Rafah despite the objection from Egypt and US. More than 1 million displaced Palestinians have already fled towards the southern city from other regions where IDF conducted its military operation. Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu vowed to“finish the job” as a member of his War Cabinet threatened to invade the southern city of Rafah if Hamas did not release the hostages.

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Netanyahu vows for ‘total victory’ over Hamas

Israel’s retired general Benny Gantz, part of Netanyahu’s three-member War Cabinet, even though is an influential voice but his is not the final word. “If by Ramadan our hostages are not home, the fighting will continue to the Rafah area,” Gantz told a conference of Jewish American leaders. Ramadan is due to begin in March 10. Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu pledged that he wants to achieve “total victory” over Hamas in Gaza. The timing of the deadline came amid tense situation as the World Health Organization chief announced that southern Gaza’s main medical center, Nasser Hospital, “is not functional anymore.”

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Israeli military entered the premises of the medical facility and detained several suspects with links to the Hamas. Nasser Hospital "is not functional anymore" said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, after the IDF raids in the medial facility located in the southern city of Khan Younis.

A team of WHO, said Tedros, wasn’t allowed to "assess the conditions of the patients and critical medical needs, despite reaching the hospital compound to deliver fuel alongside partners.” Taking to his official X handle, the WHO chief noted, “There are still about 200 patients in the hospital, including 20 who need urgent referrals to other hospitals.” Israeli forces said that they had detained as many as 100 suspected “terrorists” form inside the hospital. Of those, said the IDF, 20  participated in Hamas' Oct. 7 attack. There were dozens of boxes with the medicine that may have been intended for Israeli hostages, a large number of weapons and a vehicle belonging to a kibbutz found inside the hospital, said IDF.

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Published February 20th, 2024 at 07:26 IST