Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel will soon inflict another “painful blow” on Hamas

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video address on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover that Israel would soon launch more devastating attacks against the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas in Gaza.

In a video address Sunday, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced “further painful blows” to Hamas, saying “this will happen soon.”

Israel has long announced military operations in Rafah, a town in the southern Gaza Strip on the border with Egypt, despite warnings from its allies.

The Passover holiday begins on Monday night.

Prime Minister Netanyahu explained that Hamas has recently hardened its position in negotiations for a ceasefire in exchange for the release of more hostages and Palestinian prisoners.

“Far from deviating from its radical positions, Hamas is emboldened by the pressure exerted on the Israeli government and is deepening the divisions between us,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said.

“In the coming days, we will increase military and diplomatic pressure on Hamas, because this is the only way to free the hostages and achieve victory,” the prime minister said. He said Hamas has so far rejected all mediation proposals.

As conditions for the release of further hostages, Hamas demands a permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces, the return of internally displaced persons to their homes, an end to the blockade and the reconstruction of the Strip. .

Israel and Hamas have been negotiating indirectly for several months for a ceasefire and the release of further hostages kidnapped in the October 7 Hamas massacre.

Until weeks ago, Israel assumed that just under 100 of the 130 remaining hostages were still alive. But it is now feared that a significant number of them may have already died.

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