Israeli Officials Say the IDF is Willing to Delay Gaza Invasion
Two Israeli government officials have told news outlet Axios that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is willing to put on hold its plans to invade Gaza to give room for talks that would see the release of captives held by Hamas.
According to the latest IDF report, the terror group is believed to be holding over 220 hostages after taking them away on October 7 following its deadly attack on Israel. The Israeli officials say it is important for the deal with Hamas to be struck now, arguing that it will be almost impossible when the IDF invades the Gaza Strip.
The two officials also reveal that the Israeli government has told mediators of the deal, who are from Qatar and Egypt, that if the Hamas terrorists want the hostage deal to be struck, they must free all the children and women they’re holding.
Biden Administration Urges Israel to Delay Its Ground War Plans
Among the Western countries that have urged Israel to delay a ground offensive in Gaza is the United States. Biden administration believes some of the hostages being held by Hamas include 11 US citizens whose whereabouts are still unknown. A few days ago, Hamas released two Americans after Qatar persuaded the terror group to do so.
Meanwhile, the two Israeli officials have said there is a likelihood that the airstrikes launched by the IDF targeting the Hamas members may have killed some hostages. A Hamas official named Khaled Meshal spoke to Sky News on Sunday, claiming that the Israeli military’s airstrikes had murdered over 20 captives.
Hamas Releases Some Elderly Hostages
At the start of the week, Hamas freed two elderly Israeli women, Nurit Cooper and Yocheved Lifshitz. The terror group said the move was in response to Israel’s decision to allow humanitarian aid in Gaza via Rafah crossing in Egypt. Over the weekend, aid trucks entered the Gaza Strip to distribute food, medicine, and other basic needs to Palestinians.
On Sunday, Hamas released a statement saying it had proposed the release of women late last week, but Israel dismissed the terror group’s demands, thus causing the deal to collapse.