ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 142

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Senior official says US, European countries pushing Israel to delay ground offensive

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

Israeli soldiers move a tank at a staging area near the border with Gaza Strip, in southern Israel on October 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)
Israeli soldiers move a tank at a staging area near the border with Gaza Strip, in southern Israel on October 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Following Hamas’s release of two hostages from Gaza, the US and several governments in Europe are quietly pushing Israel to hold off on launching a ground invasion of Gaza, fearing that the incursion will all but scuttle efforts to secure additional hostage releases for the foreseeable future, a senior diplomatic official tells The Times of Israel.

The Western governments currently pressuring Israel each have citizens among those unaccounted for and believe that the more time that passes, the harder it will be to secure the hostages’ release, the official says.

The governments recognize that a ground invasion is very likely and are not telling Israel not to launch one at all, rather hold off to try and see if additional diplomatic efforts can succeed, says the senior diplomatic official.

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