Netanyah says no ceasefire until captives released, Hamas blames Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sought to dampen calls for a ceasefire, saying captives held in the Gaza Strip by Hamas fighters would need to be released first. Hamas says Israel's new strikes on Gaza obstructed the release of a dozen of captives.

The Israeli military is operating deep inside the encircled Gaza and is increasing pressure on Hamas hour after hour, Netanyahu said in a televised address to the nation on Tuesday.

“The fighting in the Gaza Strip continues with a force that Hamas has never known before. Gaza City is surrounded, we are operating inside it, we are increasing the pressure on Hamas day by day, hour by hour,” he stated.

The prime minister claimed the Israeli military had killed thousands of radicals on the ground and beneath the ground during the operation in the Gaza Strip.

“Among them, we have destroyed a number of vicious killers who carried out that terrible massacre on Black Saturday a month ago (October 7). We have destroyed dozens of Hamas bases, headquarters, tunnels and training camps,” he went on to say.

“Hamas is realizing that we are reaching the sites they thought we would never be able to reach,” the prime minister added.

He warned there would be “no ceasefire” without the release of hostages.

“I suppose we’ll check the circumstances in order to enable goods, humanitarian goods, to come in, or hostages, individual hostages, to leave. But I don’t think there’s going to be a general ceasefire.”

He once again demanded that the Red Cross be given access to the captives.

Hamas fighters killed an estimated 1,400 people during surprise attacks against villages in southern Israel on October 7, and the group claimed to have taken enough hostages to secure the release of all Palestinians held in Israeli jails.

Four of the hostages, including two Americans, have been released, and Israeli troops rescued a soldier who had been captured by Hamas.

The group announced in a statement on Tuesday that it was prepared to release 12 foreign nationals, but it couldn’t do so because of Israeli airstrikes and ground attacks.

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