Ahmad Gharabli Agence France-Presse Israelis gathered in front of the UNICEF offices Monday evening in Tel Aviv to demand the release of hostages who have been in the hands of Hamas since October 7.
Talks accelerate on Tuesday for the release of hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, in exchange for a truce in the Palestinian territory where the Israeli army continues its offensive against the Islamist movement without respite.
The army, which continues its advance in the north of the Gaza Strip, announced on Tuesday that it had surrounded the Palestinian refugee camp of Jabaliya after carrying out airstrikes and artillery fire.
This camp which houses 116,000 refugees, the largest in the territory, is located at the gates of Gaza City, where most of the Israeli offensive has been concentrated for several weeks.
“We are getting closer to concluding a truce agreement,” exiled Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said earlier in a message in Arabic sent by his office to AFP.
According to sources within Hamas and Islamic Jihad, another Palestinian armed Islamist group, the two movements have accepted an agreement, the details of which are to be announced by Qatar and the mediators.
The Israeli government did not react to these statements.
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Qatar, Egypt and the United States are working towards an agreement to try to free hostages kidnapped in Israel by Hamas, in power in the Gaza Strip, during its deadly attack on October 7, in particular in exchange for 'a truce in the fighting.
The Israeli army estimates that around 240 hostages were taken by Hamas to Gaza.
Since then, their loved ones have lived in anguish and have demanded increased efforts from the government to secure their release, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refuses any ceasefire without releasing the hostages.
International organizations and many foreign capitals are increasing calls for a ceasefire or truce in the face of the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the small besieged territory, where the war has destroyed entire neighborhoods, devastated the health system and resulted in massive population displacements.
In Israel, 1,200 people, the vast majority civilians, were killed, according to the authorities, in the attack carried out by Hamas commandos infiltrated from the Gaza Strip, of a scale and violence unprecedented in the history of the country.
In retaliation, Israel has vowed to “annihilate” Hamas, classified as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Israel, and has relentlessly shelled the Palestinian territory, where its army has been carrying out a ground offensive since October 27.
In the Gaza Strip, more than 13,300 people were killed in Israeli bombings, including more than 5,600 children, according to the Hamas government.
Any final details?
The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Mirjana Spoljaric, met Monday evening with leaders of Qatar as well as Mr. Haniyeh, based in the Gulf emirate, in order to “move forward on humanitarian issues related to the armed conflict in Israel and Gaza.”
While the ICRC assured that it would not participate in the talks, it insisted that its “teams be authorized to visit the hostages to ensure their well-being. be and to administer medication, and so that the hostages are able to communicate with their families.”
“We have never been closer, we are confident. But there is still work to do. Nothing is done until everything is done,” said White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.
Two sources familiar with the matter said Tuesday told AFP that the talks focused on an agreement providing for the release of “50 to 100” hostages in exchange for the release of 300 Palestinian prisoners in Israel, including children and women.
The transfer would take place in stages at the rate of “ten” hostages for “thirty” Palestinian prisoners per day and would include the entry of food, medical aid and fuel and above all a “renewable five-day humanitarian truce”.
But Israel insists on “family reunification” meaning that if a civilian was released, his partner would also be released, even if he was a soldier, which Hamas refuses for the moment, being opposed to the release of soldiers, according to these two sources.
Relatives of the hostages met Monday evening with Benjamin Netanyahu and his “war cabinet.”
“Recovering our hostages is a sacred and supreme task and I am committed to it,” the prime minister said on the social network so that there are no more threats coming from Gaza,” he added.
“We wanted to hear about an agreement and to hear that the return of the abductees is a priority among the objectives of the war. We didn’t hear that,” said Udi Goren, whose cousin Tal Haimi is among the hostages.
Fighting in the north
The army announced on Tuesday that its soldiers “continued to fight” in the northern Gaza Strip and that air and drone strikes had destroyed three tunnel entrances “where terrorists were hiding” on the outskirts of the Jabaliya camp.
On Monday, Hamas accused Israel of having struck the Indonesian hospital, located on the edge of this camp, killing 12 people.
The Islamist movement continues to repeat that Israel is waging “a war on hospitals” in Gaza, almost all of which in the north of the territory are no longer functioning.
Israel, which has occupied al-Chifa hospital, the largest in the Gaza Strip, since November 15, accuses Hamas of using the hospitals for military purposes and of using the civilians there as “human shields”, which the Palestinian movement denies.
According to the UN, nearly 1.7 million of the 2.4 million inhabitants have been displaced by the war in the Gaza Strip, subjected since October 9 to a “complete siege” by Israel. Humanitarian aid arriving via Egypt is subject to the green light from Israel and is arriving in trickles, in insufficient quantities according to the UN.
Hundreds of thousands of displaced people have fled the fighting in the north to mass in the south, near the border with Egypt.
According to hospital sources, more than a hundred wounded were transferred in the evening and night from the hospital Indonesian towards the Nasser complex in Khan Younes, in the south of the Gaza Strip.
In the night, the Palestinian news agency Wafa reported an Israeli strike that left people dead and wounded in the Nuseirat camp, located in the center of the Gaza Strip.