Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared that Israel will send troops into the southern Gazan city of Rafah whether or not it reaches a ceasefire and hostage-release agreement with Hamas.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz earlier said the country would "suspend the operation" if Hamas agreed to release the estimated 130 remaining Israeli hostages still in captivity in Gaza. His prime minister's latest words now contradict this. "We will do everything possible to return the abductees, without harming the achievements of the war for which soldiers fell."

"The release of the hostages is the top priority for us. If there will be a deal, we will suspend the operation," said Katz emphasizing that growing military pressure on Hamas increases the prospects of an agreement.


Four Israeli soldiers by Timon Studler is licensed under Unsplash
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