Israel Denies Ceasefire Plans After Iran Said Hamas Willing To Release Hostages If Airstrikes Stop; Putin Gets Involved

October 16, 2023 in News by RBN Staff

Israel Denies Ceasefire Plans After Iran Said Hamas Willing To Release Hostages If Airstrikes Stop; Putin Gets Involved

Update(1255ET): An active session of Israel’s Knesset in Jerusalem has been interrupted by a barrage of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, which sent members of parliament into bomb shelters. Sirens blared across Jerusalem, as the Hamas rocket attacks continue. Israel’s all-out offensive was expected Friday or Saturday, but has still been delayed, with rain and bad weather also being among the list of reasons cited as of Monday.

But this gave time for a flurry of international diplomacy as the death toll soars on both sides. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistic has said the death toll among Palestinians and the West bank is now at its highest in two decades for 2023, as deaths from this round of fighting has surpassed 3,000. Deaths in Israel have surpassed 1,400 – with over 4,100 Israelis wounded.

US officials have reportedly been racing to contain the conflict and to find some kind of off-ramp, which would lead to freeing of hostages held in Gaza. All of this has reportedly included back-channel talks with Iran. On Monday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry announced that Hamas is prepared to release the hostages if Israel halts its ongoing bombardment of the Gaza Strip:

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said Hamas officials “stated that they are ready to take necessary measures to release the citizens and civilians held by resistant groups, but their point was that such measures require preparations that are impossible under daily bombardment by the Zionists against various parts of Gaza,” The Associated Press reported.

But still the Iranian statement warned that Hamas still has “no problem to continue resisting.” Israel has meanwhile denied that it has plans for any ceasefire.

A new purported ‘targeted strike’ in Gaza by Israel, though the target or circumstances are as yet unknown. 

While Biden is still said to be mulling a visit to Israel, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is now ratcheting up his own diplomatic efforts. “Russian President Vladimir Putin entered the fevered diplomatic fray of the Middle East on Monday, speaking to five of the major players including Iran and leading Arab powers in an attempt to secure a ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas,” Reuters reports.

“Russia, which has relationships with Iran, Hamas, major Arab powers as well as with the Palestinians and with Israel, has repeatedly said the United States and the West have ignored the need for an independent Palestinian state within 1967 borders.”

Putin has condemned the soaring death toll in Gaza, warning against the “catastrophic death toll” in Gaza which he says is looking likely given Israel’s reported invasion plans.


Israeli military spokesperson continued to confirm that forces are preparing to implement a wide range of operational offensive plans which include combined coordinated strikes from the air, sea and land, while their goal is to completely destroy the governing and military capabilities of Hamas and other terrorist organisations. Furthermore, the spokesman said the operation will take a long time and that residents of Gaza should leave and not return until told to for their own safety but Hamas has been preventing people from leaving, according to Reuters.

At least 199 people are being held hostage by Hamas, according to Israeli officials who said on Monday that they had intelligence about the whereabouts of hostages taken on Oct. 7. Hamas has said that 22 hostages have died in Israeli retaliatory bombing of Gaza, a claim that couldn’t be verified.

Israeli military spokesperson said Hezbollah is escalating the situation on the Lebanon border to hinder the Gaza counter-offensive and Israel is prepared to fight on two fronts and even more if required, while an Israeli military spokesman said more than 600,000 Gazans have relocated southwards and that more than 200 Hamas members in the West Bank were detained since October 7th.

Israeli PM Netanyahu’s national security adviser said Israel is not trying to be drawn into a two-front war and that Hezbollah’s actions are under the escalation threshold so far, while the adviser added they hope Hezbollah won’t de facto bring about the destruction of Lebanon, according to Reuters.

Additionally, Iran is becoming even more vocal as President Raisi said in a phone call with French President Macron that “the Zionist regime’s actions are a reminder of Nazi actions”, while he also stated that Palestinian resistance groups make their own decisions and urged France to prevent oppression and injustice, according to Reuters.

US President Biden said deploying US troops in the Middle East war is not necessary and Israel has one of the finest fighting forces, while he is confident Israel is going to act under the rules of war and said it would be a mistake for Israel to occupy Gaza. Biden stated he believes Hamas must be eliminated entirely but said there must be a path to a Palestinian state and his message to Iran is don’t come across the border and don’t escalate the war, while it was also reported that President Biden is considering visiting Israel in the coming days.

US National Security Adviser Sullivan said the US does not have new intelligence that the threat on the ground is different today and there is a risk of conflict escalation. Sullivan added that they cannot rule out that Iran would choose to get directly engaged in some way and that the US is concerned about proxy forces, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Iran, according to a CBS interview.

US Secretary of State Blinken will head back to Israel on Monday for further consultations with Israeli leaders.