Terror group Hamas, which launched an attack on Israel on October 7 last year, has responded to a proposed ceasefire deal for Gaza that would also involve the release of hostages. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Israel as he attempted to seal a truce in the four-month-old Gaza war. The Palestinian death toll, after nearly four months of the fight, has reached 27,478, the Health Ministry in Gaza said.
More than half of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million people is now crammed into the town of Rafah on the border with Egypt and surrounding areas, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said. A quarter of Gaza’s residents are starving and 85 per cent of the population has been driven from their homes, with hundreds of thousands surviving in makeshift tent camps.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR: THE LATEST
Israel was studying details of the Hamas response to the Paris outline for the release of the abductees held by the terror group, sources familiar with the hostage release talks said, The Times of Israel reported.
According to the unnamed sources, “It is a detailed document with reference to all sections of the proposed outline. We are studying the details and checking if and how we can move towards negotiations.” A senior Israeli official also said that “the meaning of Hamas’s answer is a refusal to deal.”
Hamas is demanding an end to the war as part of the negotiations, in addition to the release of Palestinian security prisoners, and the rebuilding of the enclave — non-starter conditions for Israel.