Warfare between Israel and Hamas resumed over the weekend following a breakdown in negotiations, putting an end to a fragile seven-day truce.
As previously reported by The Dallas Express, a cease-fire was negotiated between the belligerents to exchange hostages taken during Hamas’ October terrorist attack on southern Israel for Palestinian prisoners. The initial arrangement was originally only supposed to last four days. However, the truce held a few days more as additional hostages and prisoners were released.
Roughly 130 hostages are estimated to still be in captivity in the Gaza Strip as of Saturday, according to The Washington Post.
Negotiations reportedly broke down following Hamas’ refusal to release 10 female Israeli hostages. The terrorist group offered to consider freeing a number of elderly men instead, claiming that the female hostages Israel wanted were Israeli military personnel, Axios reported.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office claimed Hamas violated the cease-fire by firing rockets at Israel on Friday and failing to release the female hostages.
“With the return to fighting, we will emphasize: the Israeli government is committed to achieving the goals of the war — to release our hostages, eliminate Hamas, and ensure that Gaza will never again pose a threat to the residents of Israel,” Netanyahu’s office said, per KERA News.
The war, which has raged for nearly two months, began when Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel on October 7. More than 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals were killed in the attack, and Hamas fighters took more than 200 hostages who were taken to Gaza.
Israel responded with airstrikes and an invasion of the territory. Palestinian authorities have claimed more than 14,000 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the war.
“It’s because of Hamas that this pause ended,” claimed U.S. National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby, reported USA Today. “They were just simply unable, failed to produce a list of hostages that could help enable that pause extending.”
“If Hamas truly, as they claim to do, care about Palestinians, they’ll do what they can to come up with a list of hostages that can be exchanged so that that aid can continue to flow,” Kirby said.
For its part, Hamas blamed Israel and the United States for the breakdown in negotiations in a statement, arguing that it had “offered to exchange prisoners and the elderly [and] … offered to hand over the bodies of those killed and detained as a result of the Israeli bombing. The terrorist organization also assigned the Biden administration “full responsibility for the continuation of Zionist war crimes in the Gaza Strip, after its absolute support for it,” according to KERA.