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Israel PM says 'will not accept' Hamas demands over hostages

Israel PM says Gaza victory will deal 'fatal blow' to Hamas, Iran proxies

By AFP

February 5, 2024 09:23 PM


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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Palestinian militant group Hamas has presented "demands that we will not accept" over hostages held in Gaza.

Netanyahu, according to a statement from his Likud party, said the terms for the release of remaining captives "should be similar to the previous agreement", which saw a ratio of hostages exchanged for Palestinian prisoners during a November truce.

Israel PM says Gaza victory will deal 'fatal blow' to Hamas, Iran proxies

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that an Israeli victory against Hamas in Gaza will deal a "fatal blow" to the Palestinian militants as well as other Iran-backed groups in the region.

"A complete victory will deal a fatal blow to the axis of evil that is Iran, Hezbollah, the Huthis and of course Hamas," Netanyahu said in an address to army commanders, according to a statement issued by his office.

Failure to achieve victory will threaten Israel's security, he said, without specifying what a victory would look like.

"Without complete victory the (Israeli) displaced will not return, the next massacre will only be a matter of time and Iran, Hezbollah and others will simply celebrate."

The Huthis, part of the anti-Western, anti-Israel "axis of resistance" of Iran-backed groups, have been harassing Red Sea shipping for months, triggering reprisal strikes by the United States and Britain.

The rebels say the attacks on shipping are in solidarity with the Palestinians and in protest at Israeli military action in Gaza since October 7, when the territory's militant rulers Hamas attacked Israel.

Over the past four months Israeli forces have also engaged in daily cross-border fire with Lebanese group Hezbollah.

On Monday several rockets were fired from Lebanon into northern Israel, the military said.

Israel "struck the sources of the launches as well as additional areas in Lebanon," including Hezbollah targets, a military statement said.

Netanyahu's comments came as France and the US's top diplomats were on separate Middle East crisis tours, aimed at securing a truce in the Israel-Hamas war.


AFP


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