- LATEST DEVELOPMENTS:
- Hamas leader says he is close to a truce agreement
- Israel bombs Nuseirat camp, 17 dead – Palestinian News Agency
GAZA/JERUSALEM, Nov 21 (Reuters) – The leader of Hamas told Reuters on Tuesday that the Palestinian militant group was close to reaching a truce deal with Israel, even as the deadly attack on Gaza continued and rockets were fired at Israel.
Hamas officials are “close to reaching a truce agreement” with Israel and the group has delivered its response to Qatari mediators, Ismail Haniyeh said in a statement sent to Reuters by his aide.
There were no further details on the terms of the potential deal.
US President Joe Biden said on Monday he believed a deal was close. “We are closer now than before,” White House spokesman John Kirby said of a deal to secure the release of some hostages held in Gaza and a pause in fighting that would allow to bring essential aid to the besieged enclave. .
Hamas took around 240 hostages during its October 7 rampage in Israel, which killed 1,200 people.
Mirjana Spoljaric, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), met with Haniyeh in Qatar on Monday to “advance humanitarian issues” linked to the conflict, the Geneva-based ICRC said in a statement. She also met separately with Qatari authorities.
The ICRC said it was not participating in negotiations to release the hostages, but as a neutral intermediary it was ready “to facilitate any future releases agreed by the parties.”
Rumors of an impending hostage deal have been circulating for days. Reuters reported last week that Qatari mediators were seeking a deal that would allow Hamas and Israel to exchange 50 hostages in exchange for a three-day ceasefire that would increase emergency aid deliveries to civilians in Gaza, citing an official briefed on the negotiations.
Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Michael Herzog, said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that he hoped for a deal “in the coming days,” while Qatar Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, said the remaining points of friction were “very minor.” “.
A deal seemed already made.
“Sensitive negotiations like this can break down at the last minute,” White House deputy national security adviser Jon Finer told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”
The Hamas raid on October 7, the deadliest day in Israel’s 75-year history, prompted Israel to invade Palestinian territory to target Hamas.
Since then, the Hamas government in Gaza has said that at least 13,300 Palestinians have been killed, including at least 5,600 children and 3,550 women, by relentless Israeli bombardment.
Hamas announced Monday on its Telegram account that it had launched a barrage of missiles towards Tel Aviv. Witnesses also reported rocket fire into central Israel.
HOSPITALS AT RISK
The Palestinian news agency WAFA said on Tuesday that at least 17 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli bombardment of the Nuseirat camp in central Gaza at midnight.
There was no immediate comment from Israel.
Gaza’s health ministry said Monday that at least 12 Palestinians were killed and dozens injured by shooting at the Indonesian hospital complex, which was surrounded by Israeli tanks.
Health officials said 700 patients and staff were under Israeli fire.
WAFA said the Beit Lahia facility in northeastern Gaza, funded by Indonesian organizations, was hit by artillery fire. Hospital staff denied the presence of armed militants at the scene.
World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was “appalled” by the attack which he said killed 12 people, including patients, citing unspecified reports.
The Israel Defense Forces said troops returned fire on the fighters at the hospital while taking “numerous measures to minimize harm” to non-combatants.
Like all other health facilities in the northern half of Gaza, the Indonesian hospital has largely ceased operations but still houses displaced patients, staff and residents.
Twenty-eight babies born prematurely, evacuated from Gaza’s largest hospital, Al Shifa, were transported to Egypt for emergency treatment on Monday.
Israeli forces seized Shifa last week to search what they say is a network of tunnels built by Hamas beneath the hospital. Hundreds of patients, medical staff and displaced people left Shifa over the weekend, with doctors saying they were expelled by troops and Israel saying the departures were voluntary.
Reporting from Reuters offices; Written by Idrees Ali and Raju Gopalakrishnan; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Simon Cameron-Moore
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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