Hamas' Ismail Haniyeh hints at progress in truce in Gaza over exchange of captivestext_fields
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh announced the progress of a ceasefire in the Israeli war in Gaza that has claimed the lives of more than 13,000 Palestinians, including 5,500 children and women. The Qatar-mediated talks are aiming to achieve a deal that involves the release of approximately 240 captives, mostly Israeli, seized on October 7.
Among the captives are women and children, adding a humanitarian dimension to the negotiations.
Qatar's prime minister emphasized that the potential deal hinges on "minor" practical issues, pointing to the delicate nature of the negotiations. The international community, including the United States, has been closely monitoring the situation. President Biden expressed optimism, crossing his fingers to symbolize his hope for a positive outcome.
The proposed agreement involves a temporary ceasefire and the exchange of women and children held in the Gaza Strip for the release of some Palestinians, including women and minors, from Israeli prisons.
The latter move responds to a request from Hamas and brings to attention Israel's policy of detaining children and trying them in military courts - a practice that has drawn flak from various quarters.
While Israeli officials have not officially confirmed the details of the potential deal, reports from Israeli media suggest that the government has given a "green light" for the agreement. However, the war cabinet's policy remains to withhold official disclosure until decisions are finalized.
Meanwhile, on the ground, disturbing reports continue to emerge. A video obtained by Al Jazeera Arabic revealed Israeli forces storming the Balata refugee camp in the West Bank, with scenes of heavily armed soldiers and armored vehicles. Separate raids and gun battles were reported in Jenin, highlighting the volatility in the region.
A recent Israeli strike on the Nuseirat refugee camp resulted in the loss of 17 lives, including women and children. The strike, which occurred after midnight, also left several people injured, underscoring the human toll of the conflict.
In a related development, Indonesian citizens volunteering at the Indonesian Hospital in Gaza have become unreachable. The hospital, constructed with Indonesian donations, came under Israeli attack.
The volunteers, described as "good boys" by the site manager, had been helping at the hospital and were also recipients of scholarships to study at the Gaza Islamic University.