Photo: Jack Guez Agence France-Presse An Israeli soldier's assault rifle hangs on a wall near the border with the Gaza Strip after Israeli army troops returned from a mission last Thursday.
France Media Agency in Beirut
- Middle East
A senior Hamas official in Lebanon said Saturday that his movement was open to any discussions that would end Israeli “aggression” in Gaza, saying it was premature to talk about an agreement on a truce.
A draft truce agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement, drawn up by Qatari, American and Egyptian mediators, notably provides for the release of hostages held in Gaza in exchange for Palestinian prisoners incarcerated by Israel.
“Hamas reiterated its readiness to discuss any initiative […] that would put an end to the barbaric aggression against our Palestinian people in Gaza,” Osama Hamdan said at a press conference in Beirut.
He confirmed that his movement had received the truce proposal, but details were missing, according to him. This “proposal is a framework agreement that needs to be studied […]. We can't yet talk about an agreement. »
After consideration, “we will announce our position which will be based on […] our desire to put an end to the aggression against our people as quickly as possible,” he added.< /p>
According to a Hamas source, a first phase of the project includes a six-week truce during which Israel will have to release 200 to 300 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for 35 to 40 hostages still held in Gaza.
Mr. Hamdane also mentioned the decision of a dozen countries to suspend their funding to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), at the heart of a controversy over the alleged participation of certain employees in the Hamas attack against Israel on October 7.
He denounced “an irresponsible measure based on Zionist allegations and collective punishment”, calling on “the UNRWA administration not to give in to such positions”.
The war, which began on October 7 after Hamas' unprecedented attack on Israeli soil, resulted in the deaths of more than 1,160 people, the majority civilians, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli data.
In response, Israel vowed to “annihilate” Hamas and launched a military offensive which left 27,238 people dead, the vast majority civilians, according to a latest report on Saturday from the Ministry of Health. Islamist movement.
Some 250 people were kidnapped and taken to Gaza on October 7, according to Israel, and 132 hostages remain held there. Among them, 27 were declared dead by the army.