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Israel’s War Cabinet discusses efforts to free hostages in Gaza

Vaseline 2 months ago

Tel Aviv (Israel), April 22: Israel’s War Cabinet held a meeting late Sunday (local time) to discuss efforts for the release of the remaining hostages in Gaza, CNN reported, citing an Israeli official.

The war cabinet consists of four members: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and National Unity Party chairman Benny Gantz.

In a video statement released by the Israeli government news agency on the occasion of Passover on Sunday, Netanyahu said: “Tonight, 133 of our dear brothers and sisters are not at the Seder table and are still trapped in Hamas’s hell.”

He accused Hamas of “outright” rejecting proposals for a hostage deal. He announced that Israel will soon deliver “additional and painful blows” and increase “military and political pressure” on Hamas to release the hostages, the CNN report said.

For weeks, international mediators have facilitated talks on a ceasefire and hostage agreement. However, the talks have not yielded any clear breakthroughs.

Earlier this month, Hamas indicated it was unable to identify and track down the 40 Israeli hostages needed for the first phase of a ceasefire, CNN reported, citing an Israeli official and a source who was familiar with the discussions.

Under the framework outlined by negotiators, Hamas would have to release 40 of the remaining hostages, including all women, sick and elderly men, during an initial six-week lull in the fighting. In return, Israel would release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, the report said.

Amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi on Sunday approved battle plans at the Southern Command headquarters in Beersheba, The Times of Israel reported.

The head of Israel’s Southern Command, Major General Yaron Finkelman, and other officers attended the “assessment of the situation and the approval of plans for the continuation of the war,” the IDF said, according to The Times of Israel report .

Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers have completed a two-day operation in the Nur al-Shams refugee camp near Tulkarm in the West Bank, CNN reported, citing the IDF.

At least 14 people, including one child, were killed during the Israeli soldiers’ operation, the report said, citing the Palestinian Health Ministry and the official Wafa news agency.

According to IDF, security forces killed 10 “terrorists” and arrested “eight wanted suspects” during their “extensive counter-terrorism operation” that began on Thursday.

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