Israel’s Netanyahu says committed to truce proposal, army cites advances in Rafah

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that Israel remained committed to its proposed Gaza ceasefire and hostage deal, and his military chief said the remaining Hamas forces in the southern Gaza city of Rafah were nearly dismantled.

“We are committed to the Israeli proposal that President Biden welcomed. Our position has not changed. The second thing, which does not contradict the first, we will not end the war until we eliminate Hamas,” Netanyahu said in a speech to parliament.

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Israel’s military issued a statement from a situational assessment by its chief of staff in the area of Rafah, where Israeli forces have been fighting Hamas’ remaining battalions.

“We are clearly approaching the point where we can say we have dismantled the Rafah Brigade, that it is defeated not in the sense that there are no more terrorists, but in the sense that it can no longer function as a fighting unit,” said Lieutenant-General Herzi Halevi.

Hamas’s deputy chief in Gaza, Khalil Al-Hayya, said: “We are a people on its land and a resistance (group) defending its land. If the occupation (Israel) announces it is achieving its goals, let it do so and let it say what it wants and the field can validate and falsify.”

He added: “If Israel wants to convince itself that it is done, it should exit the strip,” in response to a question about the Israeli army’s remarks on dismantling Hamas during an interview with the Qatar-based Al Jazeera TV on Monday.

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