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Senior IDF officer ‘not optimistic’ hostages will be returned alive

four hostages

‘Hamas is not going to release the hostages,’ says former top Israeli army spokesperson Jonathan Conricus.

By World Israel New Staff

Israel is unlikely to secure the return any additional living Israeli hostages being held by Hamas, a senior Israeli officer and former top IDF spokesperson said.

Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, who now serves as a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a conservative U.S.-based thinktank, addressed an event this week hosted by the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre.

During his address, Conricus lamented that Hamas is unlikely to free any additional living hostages, saying he was “not optimistic” about the odds those still in captivity could be returned to Israel alive.

“Hamas is not going to release the hostages,” Conricus said, while noting that Israel knows some of the captives are currently being held in Rafah.

Hamas, Conricus continued, used ceasefire talks and negotiations for a hostage deal to distract Israel and hamper the war effort.

“They have been using this as a way of prolonging the war and getting Israel to divert its time and efforts away from defeating Hamas.”

“They used the holy month of Ramadan very cleverly and got a month of almost zero IDF operations in Gaza by dangling the hostages in front of Israel for a month. They really fooled Israel.”

One-hundred-and-twenty-eight hostages remain in captivity in the Gaza Strip.

Of those, 36 have been officially declared dead.

In addition, Israeli security officials estimate that dozens more, possibly a majority of the remaining hostages, have also died in captivity.

“There is a lot of ambiguity,” Conricus said.

Turning to the northern front, Conricus warned that Hezbollah, the “crown jewel” of Iran’s foreign proxies, is “five times more powerful than Hamas,” and its tunnel networks more difficult to demolish, given the solid rock of the Israel-Lebanon frontier, versus the sandstone in which Hamas’ Gaza tunnels were constructed.

“Hezbollah is capable of striking most of populated Israel, including sensitive targets.”

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