Rifts are emerging among top Israeli officials over the handling of the war against Hamas in Gaza. A member of the country’s War Cabinet cast doubt over the strategy for releasing hostages, while the prime minister rejected the United States’ calls to scale back its offensive.

Only a cease-fire deal can win the release of dozens of hostages still held by Islamic militants in Gaza, and claims they could be freed by other means was spreading “illusions,” said former army chief Gadi Eisenkot

, one of four members of the War Cabinet, in his first public statements on the course of the war.

Eisenkot’s comments late Thursday were the latest sign of disagreement among political and military leaders over the direction of Israel’s offensive on Hamas, now in its fourth month.