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Israel's Ultimatum Ahead of Ramadan: Free Hostages or Face Tougher IDF Action

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Hostage talks are set to start again.  But Israel is drawing a hardline: either Hamas frees those hostages by Ramadan or the IDF will smash the terrorists' last stronghold in Rafah during the Muslim Holy month. This comes as sickening details continue to spill out about Hamas' brutal sexual assaults against Israeli women on October 7th.

Israel's war against Hamas started months ago in the north of Gaza, but the military says it continues to expand its activities there.  Troops were seen running and firing as they made their way from building to building.

Israeli negotiators are headed back to long-stalled talks aimed at getting the release of more than 130 hostages that Hamas may still hold captive in Gaza.   Israel's returning to talks only because mediators say Hamas has softened its demands –  like a total end to the war.

Israel says no matter what, it will fight till it's permanently ended the threat of Hamas.

Israeli War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz has repeated his demand that Hamas release all the hostages before the March 10th start of Ramadan.  If they don't, he says the IDF will strike into its last major target.  That's the city of Rafah, which right now is packed with more than a million Palestinians who fled earlier fighting elsewhere in Gaza.

More on that new report to the United Nations showing almost unbelievable and horrific sexual violence committed by Hamas against Israeli women on October 7th.

The head of the group issuing the report discussed the shocking details with our Middle East correspondent, Julie Stahl.

"Shooting in the genitals, disfiguring the body, especially in the genitals. It happened in all places, burning of bodies in all places. Gang raping,” Orit Sulitzeanu, Executive Director of the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel told CBN News.

"It was systematic, planned, intentional sexual violence atrocities, very sadistic and very brutal,” Sulitzeanu said. She is outraged how much the world has ignored them, saying, "It's very hard to see that these kind of things happen and the world denies, doesn't care, doesn't believe."

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About The Author


As a freelance reporter for CBN's Jerusalem bureau and during 27 years as senior correspondent in CBN's Washington bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, government, and God’s providential involvement in our world. Strand began his tenure at CBN News in 1985 as an evening assignment editor in Washington, D.C. After a year, he worked with CBN Radio News for three years, returning to the television newsroom to accept a position as a senior editor in 1990. Strand moved back to the nation's capital in 1995 and then to