Official says Israel won’t end Gaza war as part of hostage deal, after reports of US promise IDF will withdraw; also says IDF will enter Rafah

Tal Schneider is a Political Correspondent at The Times of Israel

An Israeli official close to ongoing talks to secure a hostage release deal discounts Arab media reports that claim the US has guaranteed Israel will withdraw all troops from Gaza at the conclusion of a three-phased ceasefire agreement.

“Contrary to the reports, Israel will under no circumstances agree to the end of the war as part of an agreement to release our hostages,” the official says.

“As the political echelon decided, the IDF will enter Rafah and destroy the remaining Hamas battalions there – with or without a temporary respite to allow for the release of our hostages,” the official adds.

Israel has repeatedly rejected ending the war to destroy Hamas in Gaza as a condition for a hostage release deal.

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