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'Hamas will now take the mother of all thumpings' for not releasing all kidnapped women, says Israel
1 December 2023, 16:18 | Updated: 1 December 2023, 18:27
Hamas should prepare for the “mother of all thumpings” after a truce deal ended on Friday, Israel has warned.
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An Israeli spokesperson blamed the end of the truce on Hamas, who “decided to terminate the pause” by not releasing all the female hostages the terrorist group had kidnapped on October 7.
Eylon Levy said: “Having chosen to hold onto our women, Hamas will now take the mother of all thumpings.”
It follows the end of a truce deal with Gaza – which had allowed for the release of Palestinian prisoners, hostages and aid.
Mr Levy claimed his government had already approved a list of Palestinian prisoners who could have been freed in return for Hamas hostages.
He said the militant group failed to meet its "obligations" and therefore missed out on a chance to extend the week-old pause in fighting by another two days.
Hamas threw the blame back, saying Israel had “persistently” rejected offers of hostage releases.
Within minutes of the truce expiring, Israeli air strikes pounded the Gaza Strip, killing 54 people, according to Hamas’ health ministry.
Reports also suggested tanks were being repositioned within the area.
The Israel Defence Force confirmed “warplanes” would start focusing again on Gaza.
It also claimed Hamas first broke the truce, firing rockets before it was due to end at 7am local time (5am GMT).
Hamas violated the operational pause, and in addition, fired toward Israeli territory.— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) December 1, 2023
The IDF has resumed combat against the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza. pic.twitter.com/gVRpctD79R
With Israel continuing its brutal offensive on its Palestinian neighbour, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was prompted to show “deep regret”.
“I still hope that it will be possible to renew the pause that was established," he added.
Hamas previously claimed around 15,000 Gazans had been killed in the conflict, with Israel saying 1,200 have been killed since the terrorist group invaded on October 7.
Under the truce deal – which began last Friday – fighting was paused as Hamas freed 105 hostages, Israel released 240 Palestinian prisoners and more aid was able to flow into the war-battered Gaza Strip.
Despite the ceasefire coming to an end, Qatar confirmed it was still negotiating an extension to the ceasefire.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday they were continuing talks “with the aim of returning to a pause”.
On the same day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed Hamas had not respected “its obligation to release today all the abducted women and launched rockets toward the citizens of Israel”
He insisted the “government of Israel is obliged to accomplish the targets of the fighting”, including the release of hostages and “to liquidate Hamas”.
Mr Levy said Hamas was still holding 137 hostages, 10 of which were over the age of 75.