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As IDF increases pressure on Hamas fighters in Gaza, terror group warns of ‘collapse of negotiations’

DM Gallant says 'military pressure created conditions for progress in the deal'

Picture of an IDF soldier fighting in the Gaza Strip, released by the IDF on July 9, 2024 (Photo: IDF).

As Israel Defense Forces continue their operations in Gaza City and Rafah to degrade Hamas' fighting capability and infrastructure, the effort appears to be yielding results.

Israeli officials are convinced that the increased pressure has led to Hamas’ recent softening of demands in the hostage release negotiations, an assessment that was strengthened by a report from the Associated Press on Monday. 

In a recent meeting with the families of the hostages, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant stated: “The military pressure has created conditions that allow progress in the deal.”

“The defense establishment knows how to both stop and resume fighting anywhere in Gaza, as needed. We must leverage the military pressure to drive the deal forward and not miss this opportunity.” 

Over the weekend, the IDF intensified its strikes in northern Gaza, brought tanks into Gaza City, increased operations in the Shejaiya neighborhood, and began operations in additional areas.. 

While the IDF had previously operated in Gaza City, it withdrew from the area after finishing large-scale military operations in March. However, indications that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad were trying to re-establish control in the area prompted the IDF to return.

Gaza City saw less destruction than other parts of the Gaza Strip and as the enclave's largest city, it is considered a strategic location for Hamas in its effort to re-establish itself. 

The IDF’s increased pressure on Hamas has reportedly made things difficult for the terrorist group.

IDF Captain Uriel Mashiach, a commander in the Sabra Battalion of the Givati Brigade, told the Maariv news site that Hamas fighters are “tired and weary.” 

“We meet an enemy who is exhausted, tired and thirsty,” Mashiach noted. "We have full control of the territory and it seems that the enemy is having difficulty conducting fighting.” 

In a statement on Monday evening, Hamas warned that the IDF’s operations in Gaza could “return the negotiating process to point zero.” 

“In light of the ongoing threats by the occupation army to large neighborhoods of Gaza City and demanding their evacuation, and the massacres, killings and displacement it is carrying out, brother Ismail Haniyeh, head of the political bureau of the Hamas movement, made urgent contacts with the mediator brothers, warning of the disastrous repercussions of what is happening in Gaza City, Rafah and other areas across the Gaza Strip.

“He noted that this would return the negotiating process to point zero, and Netanyahu and his army bear full responsibility for the collapse of this negotiation path,” the statement read. 

The group also accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of “placing additional obstacles in the way of negotiations as he escalates his aggression and crimes against our people,” in an apparent reference to the Israel government's “red lines” for a hostage negotiation deal. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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