Hamas says Israel's offensive in north Gaza could sink cease-fire efforts


Hamas has warned that Israel’s expanding military operations in Gaza City and the displacement of thousands of residents could have “disastrous repercussions” for talks aimed at a cease-fire and the release of Israeli hostages.

The militant group said in a statement Monday that its top political leader Ismail Haniyeh warned mediators of the “collapse” of the negotiations, saying Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli army would bear “full responsibility.”

The statement came days after the two sides appeared to have narrowed gaps in the long-running negotiations. Talks on a cease-fire were expected to resume this week.

Hamas wants an agreement that ensures that the war ends and Israeli troops fully leave Gaza. Israel says it cannot halt the war before the Palestinian militant group is eliminated. Postwar governance and security control of the enclave have also been contentious issues.

Israel launched the war in Gaza after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed some 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250.

Since then, Israeli ground offensives and bombardments have killed more than 38,000 people in Gaza, according to the territory’s Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians in its count.

The war has caused massive devastation across the besieged territory and displaced most of its 2.3 million people, often multiple times. Israeli restrictions, fighting and the breakdown of law and order have curtailed humanitarian aid efforts, causing widespread hunger and sparking fears of famine. The top U.N. court has ordered Israel to take steps to protect the Palestinians as it examines genocide allegations against Israeli leaders. Israel strongly denies the charge.

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