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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu Declares ‘There Is A Date’ for Rafah Invasion As Hamas Claims ‘No Ability’ to Free 40 Hostages

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu affirmed Monday, April 8, that he plans to forge ahead with a long-anticipated and controversial military operation in the Gaza Strip city of Rafah — as Hamas reportedly claimed there are fewer than 40 women, elderly and ailing hostages for whom it can account.

In a video message posted to X, Netanyahu - who has come under increasing domestic criticism over his handling of the six-month-old war against the terror group - told Israelis that “complete victory” over the jihadists “requires entry into Rafah and the elimination of the terrorist battalions there.” “It will happen, there is a date,” the 74-year-old added without giving further specifics.

Meanwhile, truce talks involving Israeli and Hamas officials in Cairo were ongoing after CIA Director Bill Burns proposed over the weekend that Hamas submit a list of 40 Israeli hostages who are alive and can be released on humanitarian grounds - meaning women, female IDF soldiers, men over 50, and those with serious medical conditions - in exchange for a six-week cease-fire.

On Monday, however, Israeli media reported that Hamas was trying to negotiate the release of fewer hostages on the grounds it had “no ability to release 40” abductees who fit the initial request by Israeli negotiators.

As of late March, 129 October 7 hostages were still believed to be in Gaza, American media reported, citing Israeli officials. Of that number, at least 34 and as many as 50 are believed to have died in captivity. The captivity figure includes 19 women, 10 people over the age of 75, and two children.

Hamas is also believed to be holding two Israelis captured before the October 7 attack, as well as the remains of two IDF soldiers killed during the Gaza fighting in 2014, bringing the grand total of Israelis held dead or alive to 133. (NYP / VFI News)

“Lord, we pray for all the hostages remaining in Gaza and we ask for their immediate release. We pray for their physical and mental health, as well as for their families who are tormented daily, not knowing whether their loved ones are dead or alive. We pray that You pave the way for the elimination of Hamas which will in turn end the war once and for all.”

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