The US, has advised Israel to wait with the announced ground offensive in the Gaza Strip against the Islamist Hamas organization, according to a newspaper report. The US government hopes to obtain more time for negotiations, to secure the release of more than 200 hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, the New York Times reported on Sunday, citing US government officials. The aim is to avoid further civilian casualties, and to ensure that more humanitarian aid reaches the population in the blockaded Gaza Strip. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, announced the ground offensive after Hamas, killed hundreds of people, and kidnapped more than 200 in attacks on Israeli territory, on October 7. Since the attack, according to its own statements, the Israeli army has attacked hundreds of Hamas targets in the densely populated Gaza Strip. On Friday, Hamas surprisingly released two US hostages, which prompted the US government to advise Israel to postpone the ground offensive, according to the New York Times report. The Islamist group, designated as a terrorist organization in the US and the European Union, had warned that a ground offensive would make it very unlikely for further hostages to be released, as cited by an official familiar with the hostage negotiations to The New York Times. These negotiations primarily take place through Qatar, which has close ties to the political leaders of Hamas. With a delay in the ground offensive, the US was also aiming to gain more time to prepare for attacks by pro-Iranian groups on US targets in the region, the newspaper further reported. Such attacks were expected to increase, once Israeli troops entered the Gaza Strip. The US government is not making demands on Israel, and continues to support the ground invasion and Israel’s goal of eradicting Hamas, according to the New York Times’ sources.
Source: Ghana News Agency