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Israel wants temporary ceasefire agreement in Gaza: Hamas official

IANS | April 16, 2024 10:40 AM

GAZA: Israel is seeking a ceasefire agreement with Hamas to secure the release of its hostages before resuming military operations in the Gaza Strip, Ezzat al-Rishq, a member of Hamas' political bureau, has said.

Al-Rishq said on Monday that Israel wanted "a temporary agreement to release its prisoners, in order to resume war and extermination thereafter", Xinhua news agency reported, citing a statement.

Noting that the attempts by Israel to release its hostages "by force have failed", the Hamas official stressed that "there is no alternative to a real deal with the resistance."

He emphasized that a permanent cessation of firing is the only guarantee to protect the Palestinian people "and to stop the bloodshed and massacres, " adding that Hamas adheres to its position represented by the complete withdrawal of the Israeli army and the return of displaced persons to their homes freely.

Qatar and Egypt, along with the United States, are mediating a deal between Hamas and Israel to exchange prisoners and achieve a ceasefire in Gaza.

Israel estimated that there were still about 134 Israelis held hostage in Gaza, whereas Hamas announced that 70 of them had been killed in Israeli airstrikes.

More than 9, 000 Palestinians were held in Israeli prisons, with some having died since the onset of the conflict in Gaza on October 7, 2023, according to HaMoked, an Israeli human rights group.

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