Israel warns of military expansion if hostages aren’t released before Ramadan

Israel threatens to expand military operations in Gaza’s Rafah if Hamas does not release hostages before Ramadan.

Israel’s war cabinet minister, Benny Gantz, has issued a stark warning that Israel will escalate its military operations in the southern Gazan city of Rafah if hostages held by Hamas are not released by the start of Ramadan. Gantz delivered this message during a gathering of American-Jewish organizations in Jerusalem, emphasizing that if the hostages are not returned by the beginning of Ramadan, Israel will extend its military actions to the Rafah area. He stressed that Israel would coordinate its actions to ensure the safe evacuation of civilians, working closely with American and Egyptian partners to minimize civilian casualties.

The looming threat of military escalation comes amidst ongoing tensions following Hamas’ attacks on Israel in October, which resulted in numerous casualties and the capture of hostages. Israel believes that approximately 130 hostages remain in Gaza, with Hamas demanding the release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for their freedom. Despite international efforts to broker a ceasefire and secure the release of hostages, talks have stalled, with Hamas proposing terms that Israel has deemed unrealistic.


The prospect of an Israeli military operation in Rafah has raised concerns about the safety of the civilian population, as more than 1 million displaced Palestinians are currently seeking shelter near the Egyptian border. The potential for further escalation has prompted warnings from the international community, with fears that a military offensive could lead to a humanitarian crisis and worsen already dire conditions in Gaza.

Neighboring Egypt has also expressed apprehension over the situation, increasing security measures along its border with Gaza amid fears of the conflict spilling over into its territory. Satellite images reveal Egypt’s construction of a substantial buffer zone and wall along the border, highlighting the country’s efforts to fortify its borders and prevent potential security threats.

As tensions continue to simmer and efforts to reach a resolution remain elusive, the situation in Gaza remains precarious. The looming threat of military action, coupled with the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the region, underscores the urgent need for diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the situation and address the underlying issues fueling the conflict.