Israel Pushes Deeper Into Gaza, Freeing Hamas Captive

One IDF soldier was freed from the captivity of Hamas, as Israel continues a large ground offensive in the north and east of Gaza City. Israel has declared a new phase in the war, as the IDF forces push deeper into Gaza. The Israeli tanks and other armored vehicles rage through the Gaza City’s streets and roads.

The Israeli Premier has turned down calls for a cease-fire, also rejecting calls for a cease-fire to facilitate the release of Hamas captives. “Calls for a cease-fire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas,” he told a news conference. “That will not happen.” Welcoming the freed IDF soldier, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this “achievement” by Israel’s security forces “illustrates our commitment to free all the hostages.”

Israel’s military, while giving details of the IDF soldier captured during Hamas’ inhumane onslaught on October 7 said this was the first captive rescued since weekslong war began. Military officials provided few details but said in a statement that the freed IDF soldier Pvt. Ori Megidish, 19, was “doing well” and had met with her family.

It is believed that Hamas and other militant groups are holding some 240 captives, including men, women, and children captured on October 7. PM Netanyahu has been facing increasing pressure to secure the release of the Hamas captives even as Israel is bent on crushing Hamas and ending its 16-year rule over the territory.

In a bid to get its captives free, Hamas has thus far released four hostages and has said it would let the others go in return for thousands of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, including many implicated in deadly attacks on Israelis. Israel on the other hand has sternly dismissed the offer, and PM Netanyahu said the ground invasion “creates the possibility” of getting the hostages out, adding that Hamas will “only do it under pressure.”

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