This is Why Israel is Delaying its Ground Op in Gaza – Bloomberg

The two American women after their release as documented in Al-Qassam video released on Oct 20. (Photo: Military Media, video grab)

American officials reportedly hope to buy time to secure the release of prisoners and captives held in Gaza.

The US government and other Western allies in Europe are pushing Israel to postpone its ground attack on the Gaza Strip in order to negotiate the release of more hostages held by Hamas fighters, Bloomberg news agency reported.

Though Israel previously signaled it would soon deploy troops to Gaza, it has “agreed under US pressure to hold off,” multiple sources familiar with the negotiations told the news outlet on Friday.

The Palestinian Resistance group, Hamas, had reportedly captured more than 200 people, including many soldiers, during its October 7 attack on Israel, including several US citizens.

Hamas had already declared that it intends to release all internationals, saying that they were detained in the rush of the battle, and they are ‘guests’ who will be released as soon as it is safe.

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‘Secret Talks’ 

Washington has taken part in “secret,” Qatari-brokered talks to ‘ree the captives, according to Bloomberg.

On Friday, US officials confirmed that two American hostages had been released, a mother and daughter identified as Judith Tai Raanan and 17-year-old Natalie Raanan.

A spokesperson for Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas had said that “We have released the two American (women) to prove to the American people and to the world that the claims of (US President Joe) Biden and his administration are false claims.”

The Qatari Foreign Ministry later called the move a “breakthrough,” adding that it followed “many days of continuous communication between all the parties involved.”

Though the White House has been vocal in its support for Israel in recent weeks, Washington has also warned against a lengthy occupation of Gaza in private talks, according to US and other Western officials cited by CNN.

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One unnamed NATO defense minister told the outlet that Israel’s allies “completely respect their right to go after Hamas,” but have merely urged caution.

Asked on Friday whether Israel should delay the ground operation, President Joe Biden told reporters “Yes.” However, the White House later clarified that the president was “far away” and had misheard the question.

“The question sounded like ‘Would you like to see more hostages released?’ He wasn’t commenting on anything else,” White House spokesperson Ben LaBolt said in a statement.

(RT, PC)

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