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Israeli Officials Claim Strikes on Iran; Blasts Reported Near Isfahan: Live Updates

Aaron Boxerman

A rally in Jerusalem this month to demand the release of hostages held by Hamas.Credit…Sergei Ponomarev for the New York Times

Negotiations for a ceasefire and the release of Israeli hostages are at an impasse because Hamas rejected the latest proposal put forward by Israel, Qatar and Egypt, the CIA director said Thursday, blaming directly to the group for the lack of progress in the negotiations. led the October 7 attack on Israel.

Earlier this month, William J. Burns, CIA director and top U.S. negotiator, visited Cairo and presented what he called “a far-reaching proposal” that Egyptian and Qatari negotiators have presented to Hamas. The proposal contained an offer to allow some Gazans to return to the northern part of the enclave, a key Hamas demand.

Although Mr. Burns did not describe the details of this proposal, he said that so far Hamas had not accepted it.

“It was a deep disappointment to hear a negative reaction from Hamas,” Mr. Burns said, speaking at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas. “Right now, it is this backlash that is truly preventing innocent civilians in Gaza from getting the humanitarian assistance they so desperately need. »

Last Sunday, Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service, regretted that Hamas had rejected the proposal and argued that it proved the group was not interested in a deal.

Other U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive negotiations, said Hamas had signaled it did not have enough women and civilian hostages under its control to conclude the first part of the agreement, which would allow the release of 40 hostages in six weeks. return of a large number of Palestinian prisoners.

A senior Hamas official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said there were not enough living civilian hostages remaining who met Israel’s criteria to reach the proposed figure of 40 hostages over six weeks. He accused Israel of seeking to free the captive soldiers for a lower price than the group demanded. Hamas said most of its soldiers would be released in a later phase of the ceasefire agreement.

In its latest proposal to negotiators, Hamas called for the release of fewer than 20 live hostages as part of an initial six-week ceasefire agreement, according to two Israeli officials familiar with the matter who spoke under on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive issues. . Israel had hoped to see the injured and sick hostages released, but Hamas insisted on a much narrower definition, limited to the elderly and women, one of the officials said.

Last year, Mr. Burns helped guide talks that led to the release of about 100 hostages in exchange for a temporary halt to fighting and the release of Palestinian prisoners. Mr. Burns said he could not guarantee that the current negotiations would be successful.

“And it breaks your heart because you can also see in very human terms what is at stake here,” he said.

Mr. Burns also reiterated the Biden administration’s desire that Israel not escalate its conflict with Iran, after what he called a failed Iranian attack last weekend. Instead, he said President Biden and other policymakers hope that “we will all find a way to deescalate the situation.”

“I know that the Israeli government, as we sit here this afternoon, is considering a response to what happened last Saturday night,” Mr. Burns said. “And you know, it’s their choice to make that response.”

But Mr Burns said the Israelis had “clearly demonstrated their superiority” by shooting down Iranian drones and missiles. He said that out of 330 drones and missiles launched by Iran, only four or five hit the ground in Israel.

“And none of them caused significant damage,” he added. “It’s a reminder of the quality of the Israeli army. This reminds us that Israelis have friends, starting with the United States.”

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jack colman

With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class.After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim.Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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