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Hostage negotiations halt. Hamas won’t talk until war ends

by DIGITAL TIMES
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In the realm of hostage negotiations, an impasse has been reached. Hamas staunchly refuses to engage in talks until the cessation of hostilities. Netanyahu, resolute in his stance, declares an unwavering commitment to continue until victory is achieved. On the battlefield, after prolonged days of fierce confrontations, the IDF proclaims the acquisition of Shejaiya. The troops extend their ground maneuvers into the heart of the Gaza Strip. Recently, the IDF unveiled footage from the epicenter of Gaza City, showcasing the demolition of the leaders’ square and the intricate network of tunnels belonging to Sinwar and Deif.

On the 76th day of the conflict, the IDF pays homage to three fallen soldiers in the Gaza Strip: Sergeant Lavi Gihassi, 19, hailing from Hashmona’im and a combat soldier in the 931 regiment of the NAHAL brigade; First Lieutenant Yakov Ilian, 20, from Ramat Gan, serving as a Givati squad commander at Training Camp 1; and First Lieutenant Omri Schwartz, 21, from Shdamot Dvora, a paratroopers combat soldier at Training Camp 1. May their memory be a blessing.

Transitioning to the updates on hostage deal negotiations, Elior Levi, head of the Palestinian desk, sheds light on the intense pressure exerted by Qatar on Hamas. Despite Qatar’s persistent efforts, Hamas remains steadfast in its disapproval. The key players, Sinwar and Deif, maintain their unwavering stance amid tensions with the overseas Hamas leadership. The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades’ spokesperson, Abu Obaida, echoes Sinwar’s sentiment, asserting that halting aggression is the prerequisite for the safe return of hostages – a succinct demand to end the war.

The hostage deal negotiations seem distant, with no ongoing talks, according to Israeli sources. Suleiman Maswada discloses Israel’s contemplation of additional concessions to entice Sinwar back to the negotiating table, including the extension of the ceasefire beyond two weeks. Despite the absence of current negotiations, Israel believes a deal remains elusive. Israel urges Qatar to exert more influence on Hamas, urging them to reconsider their demand for an end to the war.

Meanwhile, the IDF gears up for the next phase of the conflict, with a focus on the middle of the Gaza Strip. Roy Sharon, the military commentator, emphasizes that gaining control of Shejaiya and Jabalia translates to the dismantling of Hamas regiments. While regiments lose command capabilities, the presence of squads, weaponry, and potential surprises persist. Soldiers from various units temporarily withdraw, anticipating a subsequent escalation in the conflict.

Strategic shifts are underway, as the IDF plans to redirect forces from the north to the south of the Gaza Strip, particularly in the Khan Yunis area. This region is deemed crucial, housing potential hiding spots for Hamas leaders. The southern Gaza Strip, from central camps to Rafah, is also identified as a strategic focus. Recent IDF footage showcases the demolition of the intricate tunnel network beneath Gaza City, housing war and command rooms of Sinwar, Deif, and other Hamas leaders.

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