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Israel Seized Strategic Assets of Hamas, Prepares to Enter Rafah - Netanyahu

© AFP 2023 / ABIR SULTANIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on September 27, 2023
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on September 27, 2023 - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.03.2024
TEL AVIV (Sputnik) - The Israeli army has seized strategic assets of the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip and is preparing to enter Rafah in the south of the enclave, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday at a meeting with the families of kidnapped soldiers.
The prime minister said he is personally involved in the efforts to release all hostages from the Gaza Strip, adding that this process is ongoing around the clock. Netanyahu recalled that 123 hostages out of about 250 abducted on October 7, 2023 have already been released.
"Only the continuation of the powerful military pressure that we have exerted and will continue to exert has brought back our abductees and will return everyone. In addition, we have seized Hamas' strategic assets. This is another key to the release of our sons and daughters. We control the north of the sector and Khan Yunis, We have cut through the sector and are preparing to enter Rafah,” he said.
Earlier this week, another round of talks through mediators ended unsuccessfully in Qatar. The sides were unable to reach a compromise on the terms of a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip in exchange for the release of Israeli hostages.

On October 7, 2023, Palestinian movement Hamas attacked Israel from the Gaza Strip and in the ensuing fighting killed 1,100 Israelis, both military and civilians, and abducted some 240 others. Israel launched a massive strikes on Gaza, fully blockaded the Palestinian enclave, and then invaded it with the declared goal of eliminating Hamas and rescuing the hostages. Over 32,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel's military operations and more than 74,000 have been wounded, according to the local authorities.

On November 24, 2023, Qatar mediated a deal between Israel and Hamas on a temporary truce and the exchange of some of the Palestinians imprisoned by Israel and hostages taken by Hamas, as well as the delivery of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip. The ceasefire was extended several times and expired on December 1, 2023. More than 100 hostages are still believed to be held by Hamas in Gaza.
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