Israel says ‘ready to invade’ Gaza, warns Hamas over hostages

New Delhi: Israel, continuing its blistering retaliation on Gaza, urged locals in the Strip to share actionable intel on Hamas hostages. The military offered money, confidentiality, and protection to anyone with information that would lead to their rescue.

In a sharp warning to Hamas, which now has around 220 hostages according to Israel, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said: “If your will is to live in peace and to have a better future for your children, do the humanitarian deed immediately and share verified and valuable information about hostages being held in your area.”

“The Israeli military assures you that it will invest maximum effort in providing security for you and your home, and you will receive a financial reward. We guarantee you complete confidentiality,” it said, sharing contact details for anyone with information to come forward.

Hamas has begun releasing hostages, with two Israeli women being freed this week, days after two American women. The group is likely to release another 50 hostages soon, according to media reports.

Local media identified the released hostages as Nurit Cooper (79) and Yocheved Lifshitz (85). The women and their husbands were taken hostage from their homes in the kibbutz of Nir Oz near the Gaza border. Their husbands were not released.

The IDF announced that the personnel marshalling on the country’s southern border is ready to ‘invade’ Gaza, The Jerusalem Post reported. “I want to be clear, we are ready to invade,” IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt General Herzi Halevi said.

Israel has been threatening to launch a ground offensive on the Strip in addition to the airstrikes, but it has yet to announce a timeline for the attack. The chief of staff said the IDF is in the process of deciding the ‘exact timing’ of the ground invasion of Gaza with Israel’s politicians. Earlier, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel has only one task – crushing Hamas – and that it will not stop until the group is completely dismantled.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

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