Netanyahu Rejects Hamas Hostage Deal

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected a deal put forward by terror group Hamas to end the war and release Israeli hostages. The arrangement would leave Hamas in control of the Gaza Strip. Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri told reporters that Israel’s rejection of the deal means there is no chance that the hostages will now be released.

In a press statement, Mr. Netanyahu said Hamas had demanded that Israel stop its offensive in Gaza, leave the terror group in power, and “release all the murderers and rapists.” A furious Netanyahu said, “I reject outright the terms of surrender of the monsters of Hamas.”

The Islamist group still holds around 140 hostages, taken from southern Israel during the terrorist attack on October 7 last year, and Netanyahu is under growing pressure to secure their release.

Under the terms of an agreement negotiated last year by Egypt and Qatar, Israel released Hamas prisoners in exchange for some hostages, who are reportedly held in a subterranean compound below Khan Younis, a Hamas stronghold in the south of Gaza.

Israeli Defense Force (IDF) troops recently discovered one of the tunnels and described it as 830 meters long and 20 meters deep – access to the tunnel was via the home of a Hamas terrorist, the IDF said.

Spokesman Daniel Hagari said explosives were fixed to the structure’s internal doors, designed to protect Hamas fighters. He also stated that his troops found no hostages in the tunnel and estimated they had been moved immediately before the IDF arrived.

Mr. Hagari accused Hamas of committing crimes against humanity for keeping hostages in “harsh conditions without daylight in dense air with little oxygen.”

Following his rejection of the latest proposals, Netanyahu faced demands from the Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum, who said they wanted a statement from the Prime Minister guaranteeing that he would not give up on the civilians who were kidnapped in October.