Hamas official says no deal yet on Gaza truce

Hamas official says no deal yet on Gaza truce
Hamas official says no deal yet on Gaza truce

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Israel has launched a withering air, land and sea offensive that has killed at least 27,238 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory. — AFP pic

BEIRUT, Feb 4 — A senior Hamas official said yesterday that a final agreement had not yet been reached over a tentative truce deal to pause the nearly four-month war with Israel in Gaza.

Hamas leaders were reviewing a proposed framework thrashed out by top officials from Israel, Qatar, Egypt and the United States, said Osama Hamdan, a top Hamas official in Lebanon.

But more time was needed to “announce our position”.

He told a news conference that his movement “has repeatedly said” it was “open to discussing any initiative... putting an end to this barbaric aggression against our Palestinian people”.

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But while Hamdan confirmed the group had received the truce proposal drafted by mediators in Paris, he said an agreement had not yet been reached and that the plan was missing some details.

“We will announce our position” soon, “based on... our desire to put an end as quickly as possible to the aggression that our people suffer,” he added.

The war broke out with Hamas’s October 7 attack that resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.

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Gunmen also seized around 250 hostages, around a hundred of whom were released during a week-long truce in late November. Israel says 132 remain in Gaza, including at least 27 captives believed to have been killed.

In response, Israel has launched a withering air, land and sea offensive that has killed at least 27,238 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory.

A Hamas source said the current three-stage truce proposal included an initial six-week pause in fighting that would see some hostages released for Palestinian prisoners, with potential extensions.

Hamdan, whose movement demanded a total ceasefire prior to any agreement, also denounced an “Israeli disinformation campaign” aimed at “distorting” Hamas’s position.

Israel has “rejected all initiatives made so far... in order to continue the aggression”, he said.

Hamdan also criticised the decision of several countries to suspend financing for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) because of the presumed involvement of a handful of its employees in the October 7 attacks.

He called it an “irresponsible measure based on Zionist lies and collective punishment.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to the Middle East yet again in the coming days to press for an agreement, the State Department said. — AFP

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