Israel informs the Egyptian delegation that there is “last chance” to reach a hostage agreement before the Rafah offensive begins

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The Times of Israel reported that Israel issued a strong warning, stating that it was giving the ongoing negotiations to secure a hostage deal a “last chance” before launching a ground offensive in the “land port” between Gaza and Egypt, amid rising tensions in West Asia and fears of the ongoing war between the Israeli forces and Hamas extending to Rafah, which is home to multiple refugee camps.

On Friday, talks over Egypt‘s much-anticipated and feared offensive in Rafah and efforts to strike a hostage compromise with Hamas came to an end between Israeli officials and a high-level delegation from Egypt.

Before launching its long-planned attack, Israel warned that this was the “last chance” for a truce agreement, according to the Jewish newspaper.

According to a senior Israeli official, the talks were “very good, focused, held in good spirits and progressed in all parameters,” as the Times of Israel stated.

Based in Israel According to a person involved in the talks with the Egyptian team, as reported by Ynet News, “in the background, there are very serious intentions from Israel to move ahead in Rafah” and the Egyptians seemed willing to put pressure on Hamas to come to a resolution.

According to CNN, the Egyptian delegation is presently in Israel attempting to advance the long-stalled negotiations to free captives and declare a truce in Gaza.

Egypt fears the consequences of a full-scale Israeli offensive in Rafah, close to its border, where around a million Palestinians have fled and sought safety in recent months.

Even after months of talks aided by Qatar and Egypt, disagreements over core goals have kept Hamas and Israel from reaching a consensus, the article said.

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier on March 15 announced that the military’s plan for an operation in Rafah, where the majority of Gaza’s population has taken refuge due to the ongoing fighting, had received his approval.

“We must invade Rafah and destroy the terrorist battalions there in order to win. This is going to occur. Later, in a video statement, Netanyahu stated, “There is a date,” although he did not specify when the intended operation would take place.

Strong international opposition has been encountered to the plan to launch a major offensive in Rafah, particularly from the US. There have been reports that a recent video discussion between Israeli and American officials to prevent the likelihood of an IDF ground operation in Rafah was marked by accusations and tense relations.

According to The Times of Israel, Washington expressed skepticism about Israel’s plans to carry out operations in Gaza, the country’s southernmost city.

According to Netanyahu, a win was impossible without carrying out an operation within the city.

“We are constantly working to achieve our goal,” the prime minister of Israel stated, adding, “primarily releasing all of our hostages and achieving total victory over Hamas” .