After talks broke down to extend the hostage release pause, the war in Gaza resumed. Israel’s planes bombarded southern Gaza after residents of several towns were warned to leave.
In a press release issued by the Prime Minister’s office, Benjamin Netanyahu said: “With the return of fighting, we stress that the government of Israel will achieve the war goals — freeing our hosts, eliminating Hamas, and ensuring Gaza won’t ever again be a threat to residents of Israel.”
Israel’s frustration with Hamas’s hostage-taking game is likely to be the reason for the collapse of the negotiations. Israel demanded that Hamas free more than 10 prisoners at once. Prime Minister Netanyahu would not allow Hamas to gain a strategic advantage by using hostages as a delay tactic.
Hamas released eight Israeli hostages on Thursday. More than 150 hostages are still being held. This includes 8 to 9 Americans. Israelis are under increasing pressure from the Americans to force Netanyahu into a ceasefire and want to eliminate as much of Hamas’ infrastructure as possible, including the leadership.
The U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Israel’s war council that time was running out during his recent visit to Israel.
Times of Israel:
The Israeli official stated that at one point during the meeting, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said the Israeli public was united in its goal to dismantle Hamas, even if this took months.
Blinken replied that he was not sure that Israel would receive the international support to continue fighting at the same intensity as before the war had been temporarily halted last Friday in a ceasefire deal, according to an official.
The IDF has a limited ability to limit civilian casualties.
Residents of four towns were ordered to evacuate by leaflets placed in eastern parts of Khan Younis, the southernmost city. They weren’t being asked to move to other parts of Khan Younis like in the past but to Rafah at the border with Egypt.
“You must evacuate immediately and head to the shelters located in Rafah. Khan Younis has become a dangerous battle zone. The leaflets were written in Arabic and warned you.
Israel has released a link that shows a map of Gaza divided into hundreds of districts. It said it would use this map in the future to indicate which areas are safe.
As negotiations continue, there’s a possibility that the ceasefire will be restored. Netanyahu made it clear that Hamas would have to speed up its hostage release if they wanted Israel to consider humanitarian aid or more prisoner releases.