Gallant: Signs point to Hamas rejecting hostage deal, IDF will launch Rafah op in ‘very near future’

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant meets with troops in central Gaza, May 5, 2024. )Shachar Yurman/Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant meets with troops in central Gaza, May 5, 2024. )Shachar Yurman/Defense Ministry)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant says Israel has identified signs that Hamas is not interested in a hostage deal, and in turn, the military will launch its offensive in southern Gaza’s Rafah in “the near future.”

“We have clear goals for this war: we are committed to the elimination of Hamas and the release of the hostages. We have given [negotiations] a certain period of time… with a specified delay in operational action,” in order to try to obtain the release of the hostages that way, Gallant says to troops in central Gaza’s Netzarim Corridor.

But, he noted, “we have identified alarming signs that Hamas actually does not intend to go for any agreement framework with us. What this means is an operation in Rafah and the entire Gaza Strip in the very near future.”

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