Here are a few major updates from the Middle East!
No Hamas Deal
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected Hamas’s “delusional demands.”
The terrorist group demanded a four-and-a-half-month truce. The terrorists would release the hostages in three stages along with Palestinian prisoners in Israel:
- Phase one: A 45-day pause in fighting during which all Israeli women hostages, males under 19, the elderly and sick would be exchanged for Palestinian women and children held in Israeli jails. Israeli forces would withdraw from populated areas of Gaza, and the reconstruction of hospitals and refugee camps would begin.
- Phase two: Remaining male Israeli hostages would be exchanged for Palestinian prisoners and Israeli forces leave Gaza completely.
- Phase three: Both sides would exchange remains and bodies.
The proposed deal would also see deliveries of food and other aid to Gaza increase. By the end of the 135-day pause in fighting, Hamas said negotiations to end the war would have concluded.
The prisoners, including the women and children, are in prison because they tried to attack Israel. Yes, women and children can be terrorists.
Releasing prisoners would be a mistake. Look at Hamas leader Sinwar, a former Israeli prisoner exchanged for one Israeli soldier.
Israel learned her lesson:
Speaking with reporters during a press conference in Jerusalem, Netanyahu insisted that he had made no specific promises regarding the release of Palestinian security prisoners with blood on their hands, or any ratio for Palestinian prisoners to be freed in return for hostages in a potential deal, declaring that Israel “has not committed to anything.”
“There is supposed to be some kind of negotiation via the intermediaries. But right now, given what I see from the response by Hamas [to the Israel-backed framework for talks on a deal], they’re not there,” he said.
“Surrender to Hamas’s delusional demands, that we’ve just heard, not only would not bring about the freedom of the hostages, but it would only invite an additional slaughter; it would invite disaster for Israel that no Israeli citizens want,” he said.
Netanyahu has felt pressure from the loved ones of the hostages, released hostages, and others around the world to take deals to bring them home.
Netanyahu and the IDF know the best way to preserve Israel is to eliminate Hamas:
“The victory is within reach,” he stated, predicting that the war would be won in a “matter of months” rather than years or decades.
Netanyahu’s comments echoed those of IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, who said on Tuesday during a visit to northern Gaza that the hostages’ return “won’t happen without military pressure.”
Calling the military’s accomplishments in the offensive against Hamas “unprecedented,” Netanyahu said that 20,000 Hamas fighters are dead or injured — more than half the Hamas fighting force, with 18 of its 24 battalions no longer functional.
Israel’s “valiant fighters” have “proved that everything they told us was impossible was possible… and more,” he added, taking aim at “experts,” TV commentators and those in the international community who predicted that the ground offensive would fail.
U.S. Drone Strike in Iraq
The U.S. conducted a drone strike in Iraq, killing Senior commander Abu Baqir al-Saadi of Kataib Hezbollah, a terrorist group backed by Iran.
The Pentagon connected al-Saadi to the attack in Jordan that killed three American soldiers:
- Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46, of Carrollton, Ga.
- Spc. Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24, of Waycross, Ga.
- Spc. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, 23, of Savannah, Ga.
The drone strike occurred in eastern Baghdad.
America only confirmed one death.
One source said the strike killed three people and hit a vehicle “used by Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), a state security agency composed of dozens of armed groups, many of them close to Iran.”
USCENTCOM Conducts Strike Killing Kata’ib Hezbollah Senior Leader
At 9:30 p.m. February 7, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) forces conducted a unilateral strike in Iraq in response to the attacks on U.S. service members, killing a Kata’ib Hezbollah commander responsible for… pic.twitter.com/JW7Zy8QV7E
— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) February 7, 2024
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