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Live Updates | Hamas officials say hostage deal could be reached soon

Senior Hamas officials said Tuesday that a deal could be reached soon under which the militant group would release the hostages…

Senior Hamas officials said Tuesday that a deal could be reached soon under which the militant group would release the hostages and Israel would release the Palestinian prisoners.

Israel, the United States and Qatar, which mediates with Hamas, have been negotiating for weeks a release of hostages that would be accompanied by a temporary ceasefire in Gaza and the arrival of aid increased humanitarianism. Similar predictions about a hostage deal in recent weeks proved premature.

The Israeli army is expanding its operations in northern Gaza, where it battled Palestinian militants on Tuesday in the densely populated Jabaliya refugee camp, the territory’s largest.

The army said forces were “preparing the battlefield” in the Jabaliya area, just north of Gaza City, and have killed dozens of militants in recent days. Troops discovered three tunnel shafts where the fighters were hiding and destroyed rocket launchers, the statement said.

It was not possible to independently confirm details of the fighting. A strike on a nearby hospital killed 12 people on Monday as Israeli troops and tanks battled militants outside its gates.

Israel says Hamas is using civilians and hospitals as shields, while critics say the Israeli siege and relentless aerial bombardments constitute collective punishment of the territory’s 2.3 million Palestinians after Hamas’s rampage across southern Israel. ‘Israel on October 7.

More than 12,700 Palestinians – two-thirds of whom are women and minors – have been killed since the start of the war, according to Palestinian health authorities, who do not differentiate between civilian deaths and those of militants. Around 4,000 people are missing.

Some 1,200 people were killed in Israel, most of them in the October 7 attack, and around 240 were captured by militants.


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Here’s what’s happening in the latest war between Israel and Hamas:


BEIRUT — Israel, the United States and Qatar, which mediates with Hamas, have been negotiating for weeks a release of hostages that would be accompanied by a temporary ceasefire in Gaza and the arrival of increased humanitarian aid.

Hamas freed four hostages, Israel rescued one and the bodies of two were found near Shifa.

Izzat Rishq, a senior Hamas official, said Tuesday that an agreement could be reached “in the coming hours” under which Hamas would release the captives and Israel would release the Palestinian prisoners. Exiled Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh also said he was close to a deal, but similar predictions in recent weeks proved premature.

Israel’s three-member War Cabinet met Monday evening with representatives of the hostages’ families. A relative of a hostage said officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told the families that the government considered the release of the hostages and the defeat of Hamas “equally important.”

Udi Goren, whose cousin Tal Chaimi is in captivity in Gaza, said it was “incredibly disappointing” for the families as Israel has said dismantling the militant group could take months.

“We will not stop the fighting until we bring the hostages home, destroy Hamas and ensure that there is no longer a threat from Gaza,” Netanyahu said on social media after the meeting.

Hamas gunmen and their allies captured more than 240 hostages during their deadly October 7 attack on southern Israel, during which they also killed around 1,200 people, most of them civilians.


TEL AVIV, Israel — The brother of an award-winning Palestinian poet in Gaza says he was arrested by Israeli troops and his whereabouts are unknown.

Mosab Abu Toha has been publishing articles in Western media since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas, painting a dire picture of the consequences on civilians through his personal experience. His brother, Hamza Abu Toha, posted on X, formerly Twitter, on Monday that Mosab had been arrested while being evacuated to southern Gaza following Israeli military orders. Hamza said his brother’s wife and children were allowed to continue south, but “the military arrested my brother.”

Mosab Abu Toha last posted to X on November 15, writing “Alive. Thank you for your prayers.

The literary and freedom of expression organization PEN expressed concern over the arrest and demanded to know the whereabouts of Abu Toha and the reasons for his arrest. The New Yorker magazine, in which Abu Toha wrote numerous articles, called for his safe return.

The Israeli military said it was studying the information.

200 evacuated from Gaza hospital

GAZA CITY — About 200 people were evacuated from a hospital in northern Gaza caught in fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas militants on Monday.

Ashraf al-Qudra, spokesman for the Hamas health ministry, said the evacuees from the Indonesian hospital were taken to southern Gaza as part of a rescue effort coordinated by the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Many of the wounded evacuated are being treated at al-Nasser hospital in Khan Younis, he said.

Another 400 to 500 injured people remain in Indonesian hospital, al-Qudra said in an interview with Al-Jazeera.

The evacuations came after 12 people were killed when a shell hit the second floor of the hospital, according to the Health Ministry and a hospital medical professional. Both blamed Israel, which denied bombing the hospital, saying its troops returned fire at militants targeting them from inside the 3.5-acre compound.


GENEVA — The World Health Organization warned Monday that health services in Gaza have suffered “catastrophic” damage, with most hospitals no longer functioning.

“We now have 1.7 million displaced people, so we have two or three times the population (in southern Gaza), using a third of the hospital beds in less than a third of the available hospitals.” , said Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO. Health Emergency Program, said at a United Nations briefing, speaking from Geneva.

“Even if tomorrow morning this were to end in a ceasefire, we still have a huge problem on our hands. »

Ryan said the territory’s services were already unable to provide care for more complex medical cases – including caring for most cancer and kidney dialysis patients – and would likely be overwhelmed by some 5,500 births expected next month.

The Israeli army’s plans to advance further south, he said, would further worsen health conditions.

“The hospital situation – the situation of the primary health care system – in Gaza is catastrophic and it is the worst imaginable (in the) north,” Ryan said.

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