Israel war cabinet meets over Hamas hostage talks

Israel war cabinet meets over Hamas hostage talks
Israel war cabinet meets over Hamas hostage talks

Hello and welcome to the details of Israel war cabinet meets over Hamas hostage talks and now with the details

Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Palestinians carry a body following Israeli bombardment in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on February 24. — AFP pic

JERUSALEM, Feb 25 — Israel’s war cabinet convened yesterday after a delegation returned from talks in Paris on a hostage release and ceasefire deal in the war against Hamas.

National security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said before the telephone meeting that members would hear an update on discussions about the conflict in the Gaza Strip, which is now in its fifth month.

The Paris talks saw the head of Israel’s overseas intelligence service Mossad and his counterpart at the domestic Shin Bet security service meeting with mediators from the United States, Egypt and Qatar.

“There is probably room to move towards an agreement,” Hanegbi told N12 News television in an interview, without elaborating.

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Israel wants the release of all hostages seized in the October 7 attacks, starting with all women, but Hanegbi added: “Such agreement does not mean the end of the war”.

He also indicated that Israel would not accept any deal between the United States and Saudi Arabia for a Palestinian state.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that Saturday’s meeting would discuss “next steps in the negotiations”.

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He also reaffirmed his aim for troops to go into Rafah in southern Gaza, despite widespread concern about the impact on hundreds of thousands of civilians who have fled there to avoid bombardments.

An AFP reporter in Rafah said there had been at least six air strikes on the city on Saturday evening.

Israel’s air, land and sea against Hamas fighters in retaliation for their deadly October 7 on southern Israel has killed at least 29,606 people, the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says.

‘Leverage’

Hamas attacked rural communities and military posts bordering the Gaza Strip, leaving at least 1,160 people dead, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Some 250 hostages were taken, of whom 130 are still in Gaza, although about 30 are thought to be dead, Israel says.

A one-week pause in fighting in November saw more than 100 hostages released, the Israelis among them in exchange for some 240 Palestinians jailed in Israel.

Netanyahu has characterised Hamas’s demands for a ceasefire in Gaza as “bizarre” and vowed to press on with the military campaign until “total victory” over the group.

“Only a combination of military pressure and firm negotiations will lead to the release of our hostages, the elimination of Hamas and the achievement of all the war’s goals,” he said.

The head of Israel’s military, Herzi Halevi, visited the Gaza Strip and also said military action was the most effective way of getting back the hostages.

Combat was “leverage”, he told troops. “We need to continue and apply it strongly... to use it to release the hostages,” he added.

In Tel Aviv, where families and supporters of the hostages gathered again to call for their release, Orna Tal urged the government to “be responsible”.

“We think about them (the hostages) all the time and want them back alive as soon as possible,” said Tal, whose close friend Tsachi Idan was kidnapped from the Nahal Oz kibbutz.

“We’ll protest again and again until they’re back,” she told AFP. — AFP

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