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Israel’s Gantz threatens to invade Rafah by Ramadan ‘if hostages not released’

February 18, 2024 at 2:57 pm

Former Minister of Defense, and government and war cabinet member, Benny Gantz attends a meeting with the press in Ramot Naftali, Israel on October 29, 2023 [Amir Levy/Getty Images]

Israel’s War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz threatened Sunday to invade Rafah city during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan if hostages held by Hamas are not released, Anadolu news agency reported.

“I say this very clearly: Hamas has a choice. They can surrender, release the hostages, and this way, the citizens of Gaza can celebrate the holy holiday of Ramadan,” Gantz told a conference in Jerusalem.

The Israeli army plans to launch a ground attack in Rafah, home to more than 1.4 million residents seeking refuge from war, to defeat what Tel Aviv calls the remaining “Hamas battalions.”

Gantz, a former defence minister, said that the invasion of Rafah will occur in coordination with “our American and Egyptian partners to minimise civilian casualties,” according to The Times of Israel newspaper.

“The world must know, and Hamas leaders must know – if by Ramadan our hostages are not home, the fighting will be extended to the Rafah area,” he added.

Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, is expected to start on 10 March.

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