Netanyahu to Gaza hostage kin: Hamas has not made a solid deal offer

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed back on Monday after speculation that a new release of Gaza hostages was in the works, saying Israel was taking an unspecified initiative in the absence of an offer by the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

“There is no real proposal by Hamas. It’s not true,” a statement from Netanyahu’s office quoted him as telling representatives of hostage families after some relatives stormed a committee session in parliament, demanding a release deal.

“I am saying this as clearly as I can because there are so many incorrect statements which are certainly agonising for you,” Netanyahu added. “Conversely, there is an initiative on our part, on which I shall not elaborate.”

The Netanyahu government argues that an Israeli offensive, launched in retalation for the cross-border Hamas killing and kidnapping spree of Oct. 7, is necessary to pressure the Palestinian captors into releasing hostages on acceptable terms.

But many of the relatives worry the hostages may be killed.

(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Kate Holton)