- Recent Developments:
- Hamas says Israel has refused to receive the bodies of seven women and children and three hostages in exchange for extending the ceasefire.
- Israel says there is no deal to release hostages, so army ready to resume military operations against Hamas in Gaza
GAZA/JERUSALEM, Nov 30 (Reuters) – A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas expires at 0500 GMT on Thursday, due to a hostage exchange held in Gaza for Palestinians and efforts to extend a six-day ceasefire and hostage exchange. Prisoners.
The cease-fire, which has been extended since its initial four days, was followed by a deadly rampage by Hamas militants in southern Israel on Oct. 7 that left much of the 2.3 million coastal area shriveled and the first respite in the bombing of Gaza.
Israeli army spokesman Doran Spielman said in a briefing on social media that no agreement had been reached on the next hostages to be released.
“Therefore, if this framework expires, (the Israeli military) … will be fully deployed and ready to resume our military operations against Hamas in the Gaza Strip,” he said.
Hamas, which released 16 hostages in exchange for 30 Palestinian prisoners on Wednesday, said Israel had refused to receive seven more women and children and the bodies of three hostages in exchange for extending the ceasefire.
“This is despite confirmation through mediators that the group (Hamas) is the only movement based on prisoners in the agreed category,” Hamas said in a statement.
Hamas earlier said a family of three Israeli hostages, including the youngest hostage, 10-month-old Kafir Bibas, was killed in a shelling of the Israeli enclave.
Citing Israeli officials, Israeli media announced the military attack on Gaza at 7 a.m. (0500 GMT) after the government released a list of hostages who did not meet its criteria.
Hamas’ armed wing told its fighters in the Gaza Strip to be ready to resume war with Israel if the temporary ceasefire is not renewed.
“Al-Qassam Brigades calls on its active forces to maintain high combat readiness during the last hours of the ceasefire,” the militant group said in a statement.
Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas, which rules Gaza, while Israel says the gunmen have killed 1,200 people and taken 240 hostages.
Before the ceasefire, Israel bombarded the territory for seven weeks, killing more than 15,000 Palestinians, health officials in the coastal region said.
Release of all hostages
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken arrived in Tel Aviv early Thursday, his third trip to the region since the October 7 attacks, and was set to meet with Israeli leaders to discuss extending the temporary ceasefire and increasing humanitarian aid in Gaza.
“We will focus in the next two days … on doing what we can to extend the pause so that we can get more hostages out and we can continue to receive humanitarian aid,” Blinken said during a stop in Brussels.
The White House said in a statement that US President Joe Biden has committed to the release of all hostages held by Hamas following the release of American Liad Payne on Wednesday.
To prevent a repeat of the massive death toll from Israel’s attacks on northern Gaza, the United States is urging Israel to clarify where Palestinian civilians can seek refuge during any Israeli operation in southern Gaza.
Ninety-seven hostages have been freed since the ceasefire began, according to a Reuters tally. The Israeli military says it has 145 hostages in Gaza.
On Wednesday night, two Russian citizens and four Thai citizens were released outside the framework of the agreement, while the 10 Israeli citizens freed included five dual nationals, officials said. They are a Dutch dual citizen who is a minor, three German dual citizens and an American dual citizen.
The ceasefire and release of hostages and prisoners was brokered by Qatar, another country pushing for an extended ceasefire.
Qatar’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Majid Al-Ansari said in a statement: “Qatar is confident that the progress made in recent days will be sustained and that the humanitarian ceasefire agreement will be extended further.
Jordan will host a conference on Thursday involving major UN, regional and international aid agencies to coordinate aid to Gaza, official media said.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Wednesday that the Gaza Strip was in the midst of an “epic humanitarian disaster,” and he and others called for a cease-fire rather than a temporary ceasefire.
“There are active negotiations to extend the ceasefire – which we strongly welcome – but we believe we need a truly humanitarian ceasefire,” he told a meeting of the UN Security Council.
China on Thursday called on the Security Council to lay out a “concrete” timetable and road map for a two-state solution to achieve a “comprehensive, fair and lasting” solution to the Palestinian issue.
Statement by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Cairo; Mohammed Salem and Rolene Tafaqji in Gaza and Emily Rose in Jerusalem; by Grant McCool and Lincoln Feist; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Raju Gopalakrishnan
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A veteran reporter with nearly 25 years of experience covering the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, including several wars and the signing of the first historic peace agreement between the two sides.