Hamas unsatisfied with Israeli truce extension proposals, source says

Agence France-Presse
Hamas unsatisfied with Israeli truce extension proposals, source says
An Israeli soldier waves his national flag on a tank on the southern border with the Gaza Strip on November 29, 2023, as a truce between Israel and Hamas entered a sixth day after a deal was extended to allow further releases of Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners. A current truce is scheduled to expire early on November 30, after a six-day pause in a conflict sparked by deadly Hamas attacks that prompted a devastating Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip.
AFP / Menahem Kahana

PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES — A Hamas source said Wednesday, hours before a truce in fighting with Israel in the Gaza Strip was set to expire, that the Palestinian militant group was not satisfied with Israel's proposals for another extension.

"What is being proposed in the discussions to extend the truce is not the best," the source told AFP.

The comments came amid negotiations led by Qatari and Egyptian mediators for a second extension to the truce, which has so far seen 60 of the hostages seized in the Hamas attacks of October 7, all of them women and children, released in exchange for 180 Palestinian prisoners and aid deliveries into the Gaza Strip.

The current agreement is due to expire at 7am local time (0500GMT) on Thursday.

The talks were focused on an extension of "two days or more" in the pause, the Hamas source told AFP.

The Palestinian movements were demanding the withdrawal of Israeli tanks and military equipment from the Gaza Strip, the source told AFP.

"Any discussion on an exchange of military prisoners, soldiers and officers will first require (Israeli) aggression to stop and a lifting of the siege that is strangling Gaza," the source added.

The comments came after a senior Hamas official said the Islamist movement was ready to release all the Israeli soldiers it is holding captive in exchange for all Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.

"We are ready to release all soldiers in exchange for all our prisoners," Hamas official and former Gaza health minister Bassem Naim told a press conference in Cape Town, during a visit to South Africa.  

Gaza militants took about 240 captives from southern Israel in an unprecedented October 7 attack that killed around 1,200 people, most of them civilians, according to Israeli officials.

In response, Israel has vowed to eliminate Hamas and has unleashed an air and ground campaign that the Hamas government says has killed more than 15,000 people, also mostly civilians.

Among the hostages still held by Hamas are soldiers who are excluded from the exchange agreement, and the Islamist movement is likely to use then as an important bargaining chip.

In 2011, more than 1,000 Palestinians were exchanged for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who had been taken prisoner by Hamas five years earlier.

Activist groups say there are more than 7,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails, many of them far more prominent than the youngsters and women freed so far.

Hamas had already in October demanded Israel release all Palestinian prisoners but at the time offered to let go all hostages in exchange. 

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