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Netanyahu vows Israel won’t pull troops out of Gaza or free thousands of Palestinians

According to the Israeli prime minister, the war should end in "a complete victory" of Israel over Palestinian radicals

TEL AVIV, January 30. /TASS/. Israel will not withdraw its troops from the Gaza Strip and will not release thousands of Palestinians from prisons, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in comments on news reports about a possible new deal with Hamas.

"I am hearing statements about some sort of deals, so I want to make this clear: We will not end this war with less than the achievement of all its goals. This means the elimination of Hamas, the return of all our hostages, and the promise that Gaza will no longer pose a threat to Israel," he said at an event in the West Bank settlement of Eli, according to a video of his speech. "We will not remove the IDF from the Gaza Strip and we will not release thousands of terrorists. None of this will happen. What will happen? Absolute victory!"

According to the Israeli prime minister, the current hostilities in Gaza are "not another round, not another exchange of strikes, not another operation." He said the war should end in "a complete victory" of Israel over Palestinian radicals.

"Nothing less than that," Netanyahu said. "I am committed to it, our fighters are committed to it, and the absolute majority of our people are committed to it. We will not settle for less than total victory."

Earlier, CNN reported, citing a source, that the Egyptian intelligence agency allegedly gave Hamas a tentative proposal for the release of hostages, which had been reached at a meeting in Paris on January 28 between intelligence chiefs from Egypt, Israel, the US and the prime minister of Qatar. The report said that while the negotiators reached a general consensus, agreeing on specific details of the deal was likely to be difficult. According to the tentative deal, the first phase of the hostage swap would include a six-week pause in hostilities. Each civilian held by Hamas would be exchanged for three Palestinians held in Israeli prisons. This ratio could be increased for the exchange of Israeli military personnel, and the six-week ceasefire could be followed by a longer pause.

Sky News Arabia television reported that the deal between Hamas and Israel could include a truce in Gaza for the duration of Ramadan, a holy month in Islam. In 2024, this month falls on the period from March 11 to April 9. Israel hasn’t officially commented on these reports.