All news

Israel to increase pressure on Hamas in coming days - PM

Hamas, in Benjamin Netanyahu words, continues to turn down all proposals on their release

TEL AVIV, April 21. /TASS/. Israel will ramp up military and political pressure on Hamas in the coming days, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

"In the coming days, we will intensify military and political pressure on Hamas because this is the only way to release our hostages and secure our victory," he said in a video address on the occasion of Passover, a major Jewish holiday.

He recalled that as many as 133 Israelis are still being held hostage in the Gaza Strip. Hamas, in his words, continues to turn down all proposals on their release. "Instead of stepping back from its extreme positions, Hamas is seeking to sow discord among us. It is drawing energy from the pressure exerted on the Israeli government. As a result, it only toughens conditions for the return of our kidnapped citizens. <…> That is why we will deal more painful strikes on it, and this will be done soon," he said.

Tensions flared up again in the Middle East on October 7 after militants from the Gaza Strip-based radical Palestinian group Hamas launched a surprise incursion on Israeli territory, killing many Israeli kibbutz residents living near the Gaza border and abducting more than 240 Israelis, including women, children and the elderly. Israel declared a total blockade of the Gaza Strip and launched bombardments of the enclave and some areas in Lebanon and Syria, as well as a ground operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Clashes are also reported in the West Bank.

In late November 2023, Hamas announced an agreement with Israel, which was brokered by Egypt and Qatar, on a four-day humanitarian truce in the Gaza Strip, which took effect on November 24. The sides extended the ceasefire several times but on the morning of December 1 the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that Hamas had violated the truce in Gaza and opened fire on Israeli territory, thus prompting the IDF to resume combat operations in the Gaza Strip. According to Israel, as many as 110 hostages were released during the ceasefire period.