Israel is ‘Concerned’ by Hamas Release of Hostages: Israeli Media

'Shalom', one of the two released Israelis shake the hand of a Qassam fighter. (Photo: Military Media, video grab)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

Fearing the release of more Israelis held by Al-Qassam Brigades in Gaza, the Israeli army is concerned that such action by the Palestinian Resistance will jeopardize the Israeli military ground operation.

Those concerns were reported by the Times of Israel newspaper on Monday.

“The army is concerned that further hostage releases by Hamas could lead the political leadership to delay a ground incursion or even halt it midway,” the Israeli newspaper reported.

The news gives credibility to claims made earlier by Abu Obeida, the spokesperson of Al-Qassam Brigades in Gaza that Israel had repeatedly rejected offers by Hamas to release two Israeli civilians held in Gaza.

Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, and Nurit Cooper, 79, were eventually released on Monday for ‘humanitarian reasons’, according to Hamas.

US and Israeli media, including the New York Times and the Israeli Army Radio had reported that Washington is pressuring Israel to delay its ground operation so that more hostages could be released.

“Officials said that the US is not asking Israel to abort the ground invasion, but is advising it to wait, and that Washington still fully supports Israel’s aim to destroy Hamas,” Times of Israel reported.

Releasing the hostages is complicating the Israeli media campaign as well, especially following the press conference by one of the released Israelis on Tuesday.

Lifshitz told reporters that the fighters had treated her and other captives well, were friendly to them, took care of their needs, and provided them with the necessary medical care.

She also said that the fighters had reassured them that they would not be harmed, providing them with food and drink during their detention.

“They told us that they believe in the Quran, that they will not harm us, that they will treat us as they treat those around them,” she said.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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