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You are here News International Gaza destruction likely helped push Hamas to soften cease-fire demands, several officials say

Gaza destruction likely helped push Hamas to soften cease-fire demands, several officials say

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Devestation of RafahSeveral officials in the Middle East and the U.S. believe the level of devastation in the Gaza Strip caused by a nine-month Israeli offensive likely has helped push Hamas to soften its demands for a cease-fire agreement.

Hamas over the weekend appeared to drop its longstanding demand that Israel promise to end the war as part of any cease-fire deal. The sudden shift has raised new hopes for progress in internationally brokered negotiations.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday boasted that military pressure — including Israel’s ongoing two-month offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah — “is what has led Hamas to enter negotiations.”

Hamas, an Islamic militant group that seeks Israel’s destruction and took control of Gaza in 2007, is highly secretive and little is known about its inner workings.

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