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Israel expects heightened tensions near West Bank as ceasefire talks hit roadblock

IANS | March 04, 2024 10:24 AM

TEL AVIV: Israel's war cabinet fears heightened tension near the West Bank and Temple Mount during the upcoming month of Ramadan after the ceasefire talks failed to yield the desired results.

Sources in the Israeli Defense Ministry said that an urgent meeting of the war cabinet was held on Sunday, in which it was decided that the troop presence will be increased in these areas (West Bank and Temple Mount), following the intelligence reports.

Sources said that the Israelis fear that Hezbollah forces are also likely to join in the attacks in the West Bank and Temple Mount.

The Israelis have also conveyed to the mediating countries including the U.S., Qatar and Egypt that they would not send delegations for ceasefire talks. The peace talks between the two sides were going on in Cairo and Paris but both sides failed to reach to any agreement.

A senior official of Israel's Defense Ministry told IANS that Israel will not participate in peace talks again until its demand to release all the hostages is not met.

The Israeli intelligence agencies have said that at least 32 hostages out of 134 in Hamas custody have died.

However, U.S. President Joe Biden is pushing for a ceasefire before the commencement of the Ramadan month on March 10th. Qataris and Egyptians have also urged both Israel and Hamas to agree to a possible ceasefire agreement.

Israel has cited the recent statement of Hamas Political Bureau Head Ismail Haniyeh calling upon the Palestinians to pray at the Al-Aqsa mosque in maximum numbers during the month of Ramadan. The Israelis have said that this was a clear message to increase tensions in the area.

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