Israel says Gaza offensive would not stop for hostage talks with Hamas

Israeli tanks manoeuvre near the Gaza-Israel border, in Israel

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel reiterated on Wednesday its refusal to halt the Gaza offensive for a resumption of hostage-release talks with Hamas, after mediator Qatar said it had given the Palestinian militants a U.S.-backed truce proposal.

Efforts to wind down the almost eight-month-old war have stumbled over Israel's declared aim of eliminating Hamas as a governing and military force, while Hamas has given no sign it would step down and wants the Israeli offensive called off.

"Any negotiations with Hamas would be conducted only under fire," Gallant said in remarks carried by Israeli media after he flew abroad a warplane to inspect the Gaza front.

(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)