No deal on release of hostages: Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated there is still no deal to release some of the hostages captured by Hamas during the armed group's October 7 attacks on Israel.

Netanyahu denied what he called false reports that Israel was considering a proposal for the release of at least 50 abductees. When the government has something to say, authorities will report it, he stated on Saturday.

The Israel Defense Forces announced Friday that the military’s official estimate of hostages being held in Gaza is 237.

Netanyahu added he has invited the representatives of the hostages’ families to a meeting with Israel’s war cabinet later this week. He has faced increasing political pressure to free the hostages, as well as calls from humanitarian organizations to implement a ceasefire.

The prime minister also defended the war cabinet’s decision to allow two fuel tankers to enter Gaza daily after several Israeli officials criticized the move.

He stressed the tankers will supply a minimal emergency amount of fuel to operate water and sewage pumps in Gaza.

The prime minister also denied that the move was a change of policy, adding instead that it was a specific and limited solution to prevent diseases.

The Palestinian Authority headed by Mahmoud Abbas is incapable of taking on the Gaza Strip after the Israeli military operation there, Netanyahu said.

“I do not think the current Palestinian Authority can take on responsibility for the Gaza Strip,” he told a press conference.

Netanyahu added that he believes it is impossible to hand the Gaza Strip over to Abbas after the Israeli army fought for the enclave. He added that Abbas had not yet condemned the attack on Israel committed by Hamas’ armed wing on October 7.

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