ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 149

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Netanyahu to NBC: Hostage deal possible; Shifa Hospital rejected Israeli fuel offer

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a former political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says there “could be” a potential deal to release some of the 239 hostages believed to be held by Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza, but the premier cites the sensitivity of negotiations and declines to provide additional details.

“I think the less I say about it, the more I’ll increase the chances that it materializes,” Netanyahu tells NBC News on Sunday.

Netanyahu also tells NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Israel has offered to supply fuel to Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital, which is in dire need of it, but that the offer was rejected.

The premier reaffirms his stance that military pressure on Hamas is increasing the chances to secure hostage releases, a position running counter to American allies’ call for humanitarian pauses as a way to ease their release.

“We heard that there was an impending deal of this kind or of that kind and then we learned that it was all hokum. But the minute we started the ground operation, that began to change,” Netanyahu tells the American network.

For over a week, Israel has secured daily humanitarian corridors to enable Palestinians to evacuate a distance several kilometers, from north to south Gaza. Today, the IDF’s Arabic-language spokesperson announced a multi-hour humanitarian pause in fighting in Gaza City’s Jabaliya neighborhood.

“Military pressure,” Netanyahu continues, “is the one thing that might create a deal, and if a deal is available, well, we will talk about it when it’s there. We’ll announce it if it’s achievable.”

Regarding whether Israel knows where hostages are currently held, the premier says: “We know a great deal, but I won’t go beyond that.”

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