Latest Israel-Hamas peace talks ‘near collapse’ as Netanyahu threatens attack on Rafah:

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Talks of a Gaza ceasefire appeared to collapse Sunday as Hamas envoys left negotiations – and Israeli leaders pledged to renew its military operations soon.

“The latest round of mediation in Cairo is near to collapse,” an official close to the talks told Reuters as Hamas leaders left Cairo and returned to Qatar Sunday evening.

Though Hamas and Israel had “in-depth and serious discussions” on a deal that would see a number of hostages released in return for a 40 day ceasefire, according to the Guardian, the terror group has indicated it will not take any deal that doesn’t involve a permanent end to hostilities.

Hamas’ delegation is expected to return to negotiations on Tuesday, but Isreali leaders are losing optimism that the terror group has any real intent to make a deal.

“We are observing worrying signs that Hamas does not intend to reach an agreement with us,” said Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant.

“This means strong military action in Rafah will begin in the very near future, and in the rest of the Strip.”

Smoke from an Israeli bombardment rises. The latest peace talks between Israel and Hamas is expected to collapse AFP via Getty Images

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu echoed Gallant’s rhetoric while discussing the weekend talks.

“While Israel has shown willingness, Hamas remains entrenched in its extreme positions, first among them the demand to remove all our forces from the Gaza Strip, end the war, and leave Hamas in power,” the prime minister said.

“Israel cannot accept that.”

An Israeli tank, as officials in the country have said it is likely hostilities will soon open in the southern Gaza city of Rafah REUTERS

While delivering a speech for Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day Sunday, Netanyahu doubled down and said Israel was willing to carry on its war against Hamas even if the rest of the world abandons the cause.

“If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone,” Netanyahu declared.

“I say to the leaders of the world — no amount of pressure, no decision by any international forum will stop Israel from defending itself,” he said. “Never again is now.”

Palestinians mourning the dead from an Israeli air strike. Rafah is currently home to more than 1 million refugees REUTERS

Netanyahu’s stark words coupled with Gallant’s warning suggest a new phase may be about to begin in the war sparked when Hamas attacked Israel on Oc. 7.

Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city on the border of Egypt, has been an enclave for over a million Palestinian refugees as war has consumed the northern reaches of the strip.

But despite being a haven for humanitarian aid, Israel believes thousands of Hamas troops are also hiding out and operating within the city.

Fearing high casualties that might result from a Rafah operation, the US has been “exerting maximum pressure” on Qatar — which has close ties to Hamas — to push the group and Israel into remaining in negotiations, a source told Reuters.

Hamas still holds over 100 Israeli hostages.

With Post wires.

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