Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated Wednesday during a visit to the Sderot police station that was attacked by Hamas terrorists during the October 7 invasion and slaughter that “there is no way we are not returning to war” after the end of the ceasefire implemented to enable release of hostages.
“From the beginning of the war, I set three goals – the elimination of Hamas, the return of all our abductees, and to ensure that Gaza will never again be a threat to Israel. These three goals remain in place,” Netanyahu said.
“In the last week we achieved a very great achievement – the return of many dozens of our abductees. A week ago, it would have sounded beyond imagination, but we achieved it.
“Nevertheless, in the last few days I hear a question – after this phase of returning our abductees is exhausted, will Israel return to fighting?
“My answer is an unequivocal yes,” he emphasized.
“There is no way we are not going back to fighting until the end. This is my policy, the entire cabinet stands behind it, the entire government stands behind it, the soldiers stand behind it, the people stand behind it – this is exactly what we will do.”
The question is, however, whether Israel will now agree to extend the ceasefire for another four days, as Hamas has requested, or whether the IDF will return to battle.
The sixth and final group of 10 Israeli hostages (plus two Russian citizens whose freedom was requested by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin) is expected to be released from captivity in Gaza on Wednesday night.
There have been ongoing conversations taking place between Israeli, US and Qatari intelligence officials about whether and how to extend the ceasefire with Hamas in order to free more hostages.
Qatari, US and Israeli intelligence officials have been meeting together in Doha about Hamas and Gaza, with Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani joining the discussions between US Central Intelligence Agency director William Burns, Mossad director David Barnea and Egyptian head of intelligence Major-General Abbas Kamal.