ua en ru

Israel to postpone Rafah operation if hostage agreement is reached - Netanyahu

Israel to postpone Rafah operation if hostage agreement is reached - Netanyahu Photo: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Getty Images)

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) will change the timing of a military operation in the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip if an agreement is reached with Hamas militants regarding the release of hostages, states Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"If we have a deal, it'll (operation - ed.) be delayed somewhat. But it'll happen. If we don't have a deal, we'll do it anyway," said the Prime Minister of Israel.

According to him, Israel will achieve victory in the war with Hamas within a few weeks after the start of the military operation in Rafah. He also emphasized that four out of the remaining six battalions of militants are located in the city. Netanyahu confirmed that negotiations are underway regarding a hostage exchange but did not provide details.

War between Israel and Hamas

On October 7, 2023, militants from the radical Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas attacked Israel from the territory of the Gaza Strip. According to official data, in the first days of the attacks, militants killed 1200 civilians and soldiers and kidnapped about 250 people.

At the end of October, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) initiated a ground military operation in the Gaza Strip, which is ongoing. The country's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stated that the goal of the operation was the complete destruction of Hamas and the liberation of hostages.

On February 8, Netanyahu declared that a full victory for the IDF was imminent. He also announced the readiness of the Israel Defense Forces to launch a ground invasion into the city of Rafah near the border with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip. Against this backdrop, Egypt threatens to suspend a key peace agreement with Israel if the country's army enters Rafah.

The latest ceasefire negotiations failed two weeks ago when the Israeli Prime Minister rejected Hamas's proposal for a 4.5-month truce, which would have concluded with the withdrawal of Israeli forces.

Recently, Israel threatened an offensive on Rafah if Hamas did not release hostages before Ramadan.