Leader of Hamas Reiterates Call for Ceasefire in Gaza

Credits: The Cradle

Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas, reiterated the group’s call for a complete ceasefire in Gaza, following a similar call from US President Joe Biden for a temporary truce to facilitate the release of hostages.

Negotiations at a high level aimed at halting the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza took place this week in Cairo, but the results of these talks remain uncertain.

In a statement released today, Ismail Haniyeh, based in Qatar, restated the group’s various demands, which include an immediate cessation of hostilities in Gaza.

“The resistance will only accept a ceasefire that includes the withdrawal of the occupying army from the Strip, the lifting of the oppressive blockade, and the provision of safe shelter for displaced people,” he stated.

Hamas’ Chief (Credits: Middle East Monitor)

Haniyeh also emphasized the need for the return of displaced individuals from the northern areas to their homes within the territory. Additionally, he called for the release of Hamas prisoners serving lengthy sentences in Israeli jails.

Yesterday, President Biden urged a temporary truce in Gaza to facilitate the release of hostages from the Palestinian territory in exchange for prisoners held in Israel.

“I strongly believe that a temporary ceasefire is necessary to secure the release of the prisoners and hostages,” Biden stated from the White House, highlighting his extensive discussions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on this matter and the ongoing negotiations. Netanyahu had previously dismissed what he referred to as Hamas’s “unreasonable demands.”

Earlier this week, CIA Director William Burns participated in talks in Cairo with David Barnea, the head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence service. These discussions were facilitated by Egypt and Qatar. Families of hostages held in Gaza have intensified pressure on Netanyahu to secure the release of their loved ones.

During an attack by Hamas militants on Israel on October 7, approximately 250 hostages were taken to the Gaza Strip, with around 130 still being held there, according to Israeli authorities.

Thirty of the hostages are believed to have died, while over 100 were freed during a one-week truce that ended on December 1. In December, three hostages were accidentally killed by Israeli soldiers, and some have been rescued in military operations.

The October 7 attack resulted in the deaths of approximately 1,160 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.

Since then, in Israel’s sustained military offensive in Gaza, at least 28,858 people have been killed, the majority of whom were women and children, according to the territory’s health ministry.

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