Israeli two women frees Hamas delaying ground war
Hamas has released two elderly Israeli women previously held in captivity in Gaza. This development comes amid growing concerns from the United States about the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict potentially escalating into a broader regional competition, which could also involve attacks on American troops.
The death toll in Gaza increased rapidly as Israel intensified its airstrikes, destroying residential buildings. Israel claimed this was part of its preparations for a potential ground assault. In response to the situation, the United States advised Israel to delay a planned ground invasion to create an opportunity for negotiations aimed at securing the release of additional hostages who were taken by Hamas during its recent aggressive incursion two weeks ago.
Another small aid convoy from Egypt has made its way into Gaza, where the 2.3 million residents have been facing critical shortages of food, water, and essential medical supplies due to Israel’s two-week blockade. As Israel continues to prevent the entry of fuel, the United Nations has expressed concern that its aid distribution efforts will soon come to a standstill when its trucks run out of energy in the coming days.
Gaza’s hospitals, already inundated with a continuous influx of wounded individuals, are grappling to maintain the operation of generators that power vital medical equipment and incubators for premature babies.
The two recently freed hostages, Yocheved Lifshitz, aged 85, and Nurit Cooper, aged 79, were transported out of Gaza through the Rafah crossing into Egypt. Footage broadcasted on Egyptian television depicted them being transferred into ambulances.
These two women and their husbands had been abducted from their residences in the kibbutz of Nir Oz near the Gaza border during Hamas’ incursion into southern Israeli communities on October 7.
It’s important to note that their husbands have not yet been released.
Hamas stated that their release was based on humanitarian considerations following their recent release of an American woman and her teenage daughter.
It is estimated that Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza have captured approximately 220 individuals, including unconfirmed cases of foreigners and dual nationals.
There is a widespread expectation that Israel will launch a ground offensive in Gaza to dismantle Hamas. Meanwhile, Iranian-backed fighters in the region are issuing warnings of potential escalation if such an offensive occurs, including the possibility of targeting U.S. forces deployed in the Middle East.
The United States has warned Iranian-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon and various other groups, advising them not to become involved in the conflict.
Israel and Hezbollah have engaged in frequent exchanges of fire along the Israel-Lebanon border, and Israeli warplanes have recently targeted locations in the occupied West Bank, Syria, and Lebanon.
John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, has noted an increase in rocket and drone attacks by Iranian-backed militias on U.S. troops stationed in Iraq and Syria.
The United States is expressing profound concern about the potential for a significant escalation in these attacks in the days ahead.