Israel expects Hamas response on ceasefire, exchange of hostages within 24 hrs

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Israel expects response from Palestinian movement Hamas on a ceasefire agreement in the Gaza Strip in exchange for the release of hostages within the next 24 hours, Israeli public broadcaster Kan reported on Thursday, citing a source familiar with the negotiations.

Israel’s war cabinet was expected to meet late on Thursday amid rising tensions between Israel and Iran and ongoing negotiations through mediators on a deal with Hamas, within which the United States had proposed a new deal.

The media reported on Tuesday, citing sources with knowledge of the talks, that Israel was ready to allow the return of 150,000 Palestinians to northern Gaza under the US ceasefire proposal.

The media reported on Wednesday that the latest ceasefire proposal for Gaza, made at talks in Cairo over the weekend, provides for the release of 40 Israeli hostages in exchange for 900 Palestinian prisoners as a part of a three-stage plan adopted by international mediators. Each stage of the plan was expected to stretch for 42 days, with the first involving the return of the displaced people to northern Gaza, which would be supported by the UN temporary housing efforts and 500 aid trucks delivering supplies daily.

The Wall Street Journal reported, citing mediators, that the Palestinian movement Hamas has largely rejected a plan for a temporary ceasefire in the Gaza Strip proposed by the US and will propose its own plan this week for a permanent end to the conflict in the region.

On October 7, 2023, Hamas launched a large-scale rocket attack against Israel and breached the border, attacking both civilian neighbourhoods and military bases. Nearly 1,200 people in Israel were killed and some 240 others abducted during the attack. Israel launched retaliatory strikes, ordered a complete blockade of Gaza, and started a ground incursion into the Palestinian enclave with the declared goal of eliminating Hamas fighters and rescuing the hostages. Over 33,300 people have been killed so far by Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip, according to local authorities.

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