Israel expands offensive as Hamas warns only permanent ceasefire will free hostages

Shailesh Khanduri
New Update
Israeli-Hamas war

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Jerusalem: A Hamas official said Thursday that a "partial or temporary cessation of aggression" wouldn't be enough to free the more than 100 hostages who Israel says remain in captivity in Gaza.


The Israeli-Hamas war has already driven around 85 per cent of Gaza's 2.3 million people from their homes, levelling the northern part of the territory and heightening fears about a similar fate for the south as Israel's air and ground offensive widens.

Dozens were killed Thursday during Israel's bombardment of cities, towns and refugee camps across Gaza. More than 20,000 Palestinians, two-thirds of them women and children, have been killed since the start of the war, according to the Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza, which doesn't differentiate between civilians and combatants among the dead.

Hamas has put up steep resistance despite Israel's vow to dismantle the militant group.


About 1,200 people were killed after Hamas raided southern Israel on October 7, with around 240 people taken hostage.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant spoke Thursday with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin about the next steps in the war, with Austin stressing "the importance of protecting Gaza's civilians and accelerating humanitarian assistance".

The talks came as a hard-hit Israeli kibbutz announced the death of an American-Canadian-Israeli woman who was believed to have been held hostage and whose husband was recently declared dead. (AP)