Hamas demands full stop to war before hostage release

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The Hamas militant group which is engaged in a battle with the state of Israel has reportedly backed out of a partial ceasefire to hostilities for the release of hostages held by it. According to sources in Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the political head of Hamas, Ismael Haniyeh who is in Cairo leading a galaxy of senior Hamas leaders has informed the Egyptian negotiators that the militant group would agree only for a total end to the war in Gaza Strip.

Israel also disagreed for a total cessation of war and this has led to the fate of around 120 hostages held by Hamas in balance. Ismael Haniyeh has told negotiators that he was in Cairo to stop the war and that a part-time ceasefire and release of hostages was not possible. It may be noted that Israel had agreed to a week’s truce in fighting for the release of 40 hostages including women, children and elderly who were ill and needed medication, in the custody of Hamas.

Israel had also agreed to release Palestinian prisoners in jails of Israel and even said that the Palestinians who were behind bars for more grievous offences could also be let off for exchange of hostages. There was a ceasefire in the war which commenced on October 27, after Israel Defence Forces (IDF) invaded the Gaza Strip.

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The one-week ceasefire from November 24 to December 1 saw the release of 105 hostages who were captured by Hamas on October 7 after the mayhem and massacre in South Israel leading to the slaughter of 1,200 people in Israel. Israel, it may be recalled, had vowed to finish Hamas and take total control of Gaza and hence, had invaded the strip leading to heavy casualties in Gaza killing almost 20,000 Palestinians.