Updated December 30th, 2023 at 08:52 IST
Hamas says over 100 hostages will be freed only after Israel agrees on permanent ceasefire
A Hamas spokesperson said that the terror group will only free over 100 remaining hostages held captive in Gaza under a permanent ceasefire.
Gaza: With the international actors struggling to negotiate a ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas, a spokesperson from the terror group said that they will only free over 100 remaining hostages held captive in Gaza under a permanent ceasefire. On Thursday, Hamas noted that a “partial or temporary cessation of aggression” would not allow the release of all hostages, The New York Post reported. The warning came days after Israel escalated its ground operations in Gaza by hitting military targets even on the southern side of the coastal enclave.
Meanwhile, the US Secretary of Defence, Llyod Austin held a meeting with his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant on Thursday and stressed that it is important to protect Gaza's civilian population and “accelerate humanitarian assistance”. Not only this, on the same day of Hamas' proclamation, the Israeli Defence Forces targeted Khan Younis which is touted as Gaza's main southern city packed with families seeking refuge. The Israeli military reasoned that they were working to destroy “buildings rigged with explosives” and eliminate Hamas' operation cells in Khan Younis.
Netanyahu feels the pressure
Amid all the chaos, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday cancelled a war cabinet meeting at the very last minute. According to The Times of Israel, the meeting was scheduled to discuss the post-war arrangements for the Gaza Strip before it got cancelled. As per the reports, the Israeli premier cancelled the meeting after he received pressure from his far-right coalition partners including Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich. Shortly after the meeting was cancelled reports emerged that the Israeli premier plans to discuss the matter in a Tuesday meeting of the wider security cabinet. “The war cabinet isn’t authorized to decide [what happens after the war with Hamas in Gaza],” sources from the Religious Zionism faction were quoted as saying by Ynet news.
The delay has made Wahington anxious as they argue that failure to plan who will govern Gaza would ultimately leave the coastal enclave in an unstable state. However, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, the head of the far-right Oztma Yehudit party has also spoken out against the war cabinet meeting. “This is the role of the security cabinet — so the discussions on what happens after [the war against Hamas] should be held in the security cabinet – not the war cabinet," Gvir told Ynet.
Published December 30th, 2023 at 08:52 IST