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Israel increases military pressure on Hamas

2024-02-24T04:41:56.045Z

Highlights: Israel increases military pressure on Hamas. New round of indirect negotiations over a ceasefire in the Gaza war has begun in Paris. Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock urgently called on Israel and Hamas for a quick ceasefire. According to the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health, the death toll has risen to 29,514 dead and 69,616 injured since the war began almost five months ago. The war was triggered by a massacre carried out by terrorists and other extremist groups in Israel on October 7th last year.



As of: February 24, 2024, 5:31 a.m

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According to the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health, the death toll in the Gaza Strip has risen to 29,514 dead and 69,616 injured since the war began almost five months ago.

© Mohammed Talatene/dpa

There is talk of cautious optimism in the Gaza mediation talks.

But for now the war rages on relentlessly.

The news at a glance.

Tel Aviv/Gaza/Paris - While mediators from Qatar, Egypt and the USA in Paris continue to strive for a ceasefire and the release of hostages in the Gaza war, the Israeli army is relentlessly continuing the fight against the Islamist Hamas.

Israel will "increase military pressure until the last moment because only negotiations under fire will produce results," Israel's Channel 12 television quoted an Israeli security source as saying.

“There is optimism, but an agreement is not imminent,” said an unnamed government official.

Meanwhile, Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock urgently called on Israel and Hamas for a quick ceasefire.

“We need the humanitarian pause now to release the hostages and so that humanitarian aid can get to Gaza,” said the Green politician on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Israel on negotiations: agreement is not imminent

A new round of indirect negotiations over a ceasefire in the Gaza war has begun in Paris and, according to media reports, will continue this weekend.

An Israeli delegation led by David Barnea, head of the foreign intelligence agency Mossad, met representatives of Egypt, Qatar and the United States, which are brokering the talks with Hamas.

Israel and Hamas do not negotiate directly.

Hamas has reportedly scaled down some of its demands.

So they are now only demanding the release of several dozen Palestinian prisoners in exchange for each Israeli hostage, instead of hundreds as before, Channel 12 reported.

According to the broadcaster, Israel's delegation in Paris is said to have received the authority from its government to have a certain flexibility in its own positions.

However, Israel continues to strictly reject Hamas's demand for a permanent ceasefire and an end to the war, it said.

“The effort is about creating a basic framework with clear criteria for what we will and will not discuss,” the broadcaster quoted the government official as saying.

“An agreement is not imminent.

The aim is to achieve this before the start of the month of Ramadan.” The Muslim fasting month begins around March 10th.

Benny Gantz, minister in Israel's war cabinet, again warned Hamas about a possible expansion of the operation to the city of Rafah in southern Gaza.

Gantz: Reach Hamas everywhere - including in Rafah

Israel is currently preparing a controversial military offensive on the city bordering Egypt in order to, according to its own statements, destroy the remaining Hamas battalions and free suspected hostages there.

However, the government has not yet issued an operational order.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian internally displaced people have sought protection in the town.

In previous statements, Gantz had announced that the offensive in Rafah itself could begin in Ramadan if an agreement to release more than 130 hostages held by Hamas is not reached by then.

“We will reach every place where Hamas terrorists are,” the Israeli minister said in a video message.

Baerbock: Humanitarian situation catastrophic

Federal Foreign Minister Baerbock said in New York that the humanitarian situation in Gaza was “so catastrophic that aid is currently almost no longer being distributed.”

During a humanitarian ceasefire, “aid organizations should finally be able to resume their work in Gaza.”

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According to the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health, the death toll in the Gaza Strip has risen to 29,514 dead and 69,616 injured since the war began almost five months ago.

The figures, which do not distinguish between fighters and civilians, cannot be independently verified.

The war was triggered by a massacre carried out by terrorists from Hamas and other extremist groups in Israel on October 7th last year.

They murdered more than 1,200 people and kidnapped 250 others to the Gaza Strip.

Israel responded with massive air strikes and a ground offensive.

Report: Hamas is far from defeated

According to its own assessment, Israel's army has dealt Hamas a serious blow since the war began almost five months ago by killing commanders, destroying tunnels and confiscating weapons, the New York Times reported.

But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's goal of destroying Hamas remains a long way off, according to current and former Israeli security officials.

“Is it possible that this mission will be left to my children?

The answer is yes,” the newspaper quoted an Israeli military intelligence official as saying.

According to Israeli analysts, during the recent fighting, Hamas avoided direct confrontations with Israeli units, which Israel saw as a sign of weakness, the newspaper wrote.

Other experts, however, are of the opinion that Hamas has a reason for this strategy: Hamas is convinced that it would mean a victory if a significant part of its military strength survived the war.

Israel on the situation in Lebanon

Meanwhile, the situation on Israel's northern border with Lebanon is also deteriorating.

According to the Hezbollah militia, three people were killed in an Israeli air strike.

As the Shiite militia announced, a health center and ambulances were hit the day before.

Israel's army, however, said the attack was directed against a Hezbollah military facility.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz issued a clear warning to the Iranian-backed militia.

“We won’t wait much longer for a diplomatic solution in the north,” Katz wrote on the X platform (formerly Twitter).

According to the Times of Israel, the Israeli navy conducted “extensive” exercises last week.

The military is preparing for a possible war, the Israeli newspaper wrote.

What is important today

In Paris, efforts by international mediators to reach a ceasefire and release hostages will continue.

The humanitarian situation of Palestinian civilians is terrible.

Added to this is the fear in Rafah of an impending Israeli ground offensive.

dpa

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2024-02-24

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