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Hamas official says ground attack on Rafah will undermine hostage talks

February 11, 2024 at 1:45 pm

Palestinians, taking shelter in southern city Rafah, flock to the markets to meet some of their needs as the Palestinians who fled from Israeli attacks and took refuge in Rafah city, form a dense crowd on the streets of Rafah, Gaza on February 10, 2024. [Abed Zagout – Anadolu Agency]

A senior Hamas official said Sunday that Israel’s possible ground invasion of Rafah will undermine the hostage negotiations, Anadolu Agency reports.

An unnamed Hamas official told the Al-Aqsa television that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to avoid fulfilling the responsibilities of the exchange agreement by committing genocide and causing a new humanitarian disaster in Rafah.

The official said any attack by the Israeli army on the city of Rafah would mean that the hostage negotiations are undermined.

“Netanyahu and his Nazi army will not be able to achieve now what they could not achieve in more than four months, no matter how long the war lasts,” he added.

Netanyahu ordered the army on Friday to develop a dual plan to evacuate civilians from Rafah and to defeat the remaining Hamas battalions.

The Palestinians have sought refuge in Rafah as Israel pounded the rest of the enclave following the Oct. 7 Hamas incursion. The bombardment has killed at least 28,176 people, mostly women and children, and injured 67,784 others, beside causing mass destruction and shortages of basic necessities.

READ: Netanyahu asks army to remobilize reserve soldiers in preparation for ground offensive in Rafah