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Hamas says it is “studying” a counter-proposal for an Israeli truce

Photo: Agence France-Presse Palestinian children stand near debris in Rafah, Gaza Strip.

Aymeric Vincenot – Agence France-Presse in Jerusalem

Posted at 9:44 a.m. Updated at 6:32 p.m.

  • Middle East

Hamas announced on Saturday that it was “studying” an Israeli counter-proposal with a view to a truce in the fighting in Gaza associated with the release of hostages, including two Israelis who appeared in a video broadcast by the Palestinian movement.

The Hostage Families Forum identified these two hostages as Keith Siegel and Omri Miran. On Wednesday, Hamas released a video of another Israeli hostage, Hersh Goldberg-Polin. All were kidnapped during Hamas' unprecedented attack on Israeli soil on October 7.

Early Saturday, Hamas said it was “studying” a counter-proposal Israeli government for a truce in the fighting in Gaza and the release of hostages.

“Today, Hamas received the official response from the Zionist occupation [Israel, Editor's note] to our position which had been handed over to the Egyptian and Qatari mediators on April 13,” said the branch's number 2 in a statement. Hamas policy for Gaza, Khalil al-Hayya.

The Islamist movement, in power in Gaza since 2007, specifies that it “will submit its response once its study is completed “.

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He had previously insisted on a permanent ceasefire, a hypothesis rejected by Israel, which prefers a pause of several weeks in the fighting.

Meanwhile, Israel is preparing to launch a ground offensive in Rafah, where there are a million and a half Palestinians, mainly displaced people. Many capitals and humanitarian organizations fear a bloodbath in this city already regularly bombarded by the Israeli army.

Hospital officials indicated that strikes there had caused more than a dozen deaths during the night from Friday to Saturday. An entire family was decimated, “there is no one left,” said a relative, Mohammed Yussef, for whom “the house was targeted.”

Video of two hostages

The war in Gaza was sparked on October 7 by an unprecedented Hamas attack on Israel that resulted in deaths of 1,170 people, mainly civilians, according to an AFP report established using official Israeli data.

More than 250 people were kidnapped and 129 remain captive in Gaza, 34 of whom died, according to Israeli officials.

In retaliation, Israel has vowed to annihilate Hamas, which it considers a terrorist organization, along with the United States and the European Union. Its army launched an offensive that left a total of 34,388 dead, mostly civilians, according to Hamas.

Egypt, Qatar and the United States are trying in vain to conclude a new truce agreement in Gaza, after a week-long pause in the fighting in November, which allowed the exchange of 80 hostages for 240 Palestinian detainees.

The details of the Israeli counter-proposal have not filtered out, but the Israeli press has mentioned the possible release, initially, of 20 hostages considered to be “humanitarian cases”.

On Saturday evening, in the undated video released by Hamas, Omri Miran, 47, speaking presumably under duress, described “a difficult situation” due to “numerous bombings” on Gaza.

Shortly after the video was broadcast, demonstrators gathered in Tel Aviv, demanding an agreement from the government of Benjamin Netanyahu to release the hostages. Among them, Mr. Miran's father, who asked Hamas to “make a decision now”.

Blinken in Arabia

While awaiting the outcome of the negotiations, the war between Israel and Hamas is also taking place at the World Economic Forum, which is due to begin on Sunday in the Saudi capital Riyadh, where are expected senior Arab and European diplomats, as well as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Mr. Blinken will discuss “ongoing efforts to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza that allows the release of hostages” and will also “emphasize the importance of preventing a regional extension” of the war, he said. the State Department said on Saturday.

On the ground, no respite. The Israeli army said it had struck more than 25 targets over the past day in the Gaza Strip.

“We are tired after seven months of displacement and struggle in the camps. We therefore insisted on returning and staying in a tent on the rubble of our house,” in Khan Younès, said Abdelqader Mohammed Qwaider.

In addition to the destruction and the toll war has caused a humanitarian catastrophe.

On Saturday, a British ship left Cyprus to accommodate hundreds of US military personnel who are building an artificial pier in Gaza to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid. In the process, Cyprus announced that a ship loaded with aid, which returned from Gaza in early April after an Israeli strike killed seven humanitarian workers, was heading back towards the Palestinian territory.

In Turkey, however, a “freedom flotilla” aiming to deliver aid to Gaza was blocked after being deprived of a sailing flag.

Hezbollah fire

The war between Israel and Hamas has caused an outbreak of violence on Israel's northern border with Lebanon, where there are daily exchanges of fire between the Israeli army and the Lebanese Islamist movement Hezbollah, supported by Iran.

The latter claimed on Saturday to have targeted two Israeli military positions in the north of the country, “in response” to the attacks “against civilian homes” in the south of Lebanon which left three people dead during the night from Friday to Saturday.

In Yemen, the Houthi rebels, also supported by Iran and claiming to act in support of the Palestinians in Gaza, claimed responsibility during the night from Friday to Saturday for attacks which damaged the Andromeda Star, a ship sailing in the Red Sea under the US Middle East Command.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116