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US, Arab officials trying to soften Israeli-Hamas differences Gaza war
In images destruction from Gaza war/ courtesy: UNI

US, Arab officials trying to soften Israeli-Hamas differences

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 25 Feb 2024, 10:22 am

Washington/IBNS/UNI: US and Arab officials are seeking to narrow the differences between Israel and the Palestinian movement Hamas to reach an agreement to pause hostilities in Gaza and release Israeli hostages, The Wall Street Journal reported citing Egyptian officials.

The report on Saturday added that at the meeting in Paris, Hamas was showing flexibility regarding how long the pause in hostilities should last, the number of Palestinians to be released as part of the first stage of the agreement, and the gradual withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli delegation was ready to discuss the duration of the pause and the release of several Palestinian prisoners, but remained hesitant about allowing Gaza residents to return to the northern part of the enclave or making any commitment to guarantee negotiations to end the war, the report said, citing mediators.

On October 7, 2023, Hamas launched a large-scale rocket attack against Israel from Gaza and breached the border, killing 1,200 people and abducting around 240 others.

Israel launched retaliatory strikes, ordered a complete blockade of Gaza, and started a ground incursion into the Palestinian enclave with the declared goal of eliminating Hamas fighters and rescuing the hostages.

At least 29,500 people have been killed so far in the Gaza Strip, local authorities said.

On November 24, Qatar mediated a deal between Israel and Hamas on a temporary truce and the exchange of some of the prisoners and hostages, as well as the delivery of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.

The ceasefire was extended several times and expired on December 1. More than 100 hostages are still believed to be held by Hamas in Gaza.

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