June 25th, 2024

Biden says Hamas is ‘no longer capable’ of carrying out another major attack against Israel

By Aamer Madhani And Darlene Superville, The Associated Press on May 31, 2024.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the verdict in former President Donald Trump's hush money trial and on the Middle East, from the State Dining Room of the White House, Friday, May 31, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden said Friday that Hamas is “no longer capable” of carrying out another large-scale attack on Israel as he urged Israelis and Hamas to come to a deal to release remaining hostages for an extended cease-fire.

Biden addressed the nearly eight-month Israel-Hamas war as the Israeli military confirmed on Friday that its forces are now operating in central parts of Rafah in its expanding offensive in the southern Gaza city.

“This is truly a decisive moment,” Biden said as he spoke of a three-phase deal that Israeli officials have offered Hamas. “Israel has made their proposal. Hamas says it wants a cease-fire. This deal is an opportunity to prove whether they really mean it.”

Israel launched its 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. Israel says around 100 hostages are still captive in Gaza, along with the bodies of around 30 more.

Cease-fire talks ground to a halt at the beginning of the month after a major push by the U.S. and other mediators to secure a deal, in hopes of averting a planned Israeli invasion of the southern city of Rafah.

The talks were stymied by a central sticking point: Hamas demands guarantees that the war will end and Israeli troops will withdraw from Gaza completely in return for a release of all the hostages, a demand Israel rejects.

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