Hamas claims ‘permanent ceasefire’ on table as fighting rages on in Gaza | World | News


Hamas has said there has been no progress in talks with Israel over the war in Gaza but will “deal positively” with a proposal which includes a permanent ceasefire. Senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan said the group remains ready to discuss a truce to end the conflict.

In remarks made in Beirut on Saturday (June 29) reported by Al Jazeera, he said: “Once again, Hamas is ready to deal positively with any proposal that secures a permanent ceasefire, a comprehensive withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, and a serious swap deal.”

US president Joe Biden tabled a three-phase deal four weeks ago which would lead to an extended truce as well as the release of Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners.

But negotiations between Israel and Hamas appear to have stalled. A senior Joe Biden administration official said on Saturday the US has been talking to Egyptian and Qatari intermediaries with the aim of trying to jumpstart the negotiations.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an effort the White House has yet to publicly acknowledge.

More than 37,800 Palestinians have been killed in the war since it began with Hamas’s terror attack on southern Israel on October 7, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which doesn’t distinguish between civilians and combatants in its toll.

The ministry said on Saturday the bodies of 40 people killed by Israeli strikes had been brought to local hospitals within 24 hours.

At least three people, including a five-year-old girl, were killed and six others were wounded in a strike in the Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza. The Israeli military didn’t immediately comment.

The October 7 Hamas attack in Israel killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, with another 250 people taken hostage.

Israeli forces have been battling Palestinian militants in an eastern part of Gaza City, Shijaiyah, during the last week.

Elsewhere, thousands of Palestinians who stayed in Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah have fled to Muwasi, a coastal tent camp designated by the Israeli army as a safe zone.

More than 1.3 million Palestinians have fled Rafah since Israel’s incursion into the city in early May, while aid groups warn there are no safe places to go.

Meanwhile, US, European and Arab mediators are pushing to keep stepped-up cross-border attacks between Israel and Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah militants from sparking a wider Middle East war.

Tehran and Tel Aviv traded threats on Saturday over what Iran said would be an “obliterating” war. On both sides of the Lebanese border, escalating strikes between Israel and Hezbollah appeared to level off this week.

Daily strikes still pound the border area, but the slight shift offered hope of easing immediate fears, which had prompted the US to send an amphibious assault ship with a marine expeditionary force to join other warships in the area as a deterrent.



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