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Hamas offer to free 33 Israeli hostages also includes dead

Hamas offer to free 33 Israeli hostages also includes dead

The war began after a Hamas attack on southern Israel on October 7.

The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas has agreed to a three-phase deal providing for a ceasefire and an exchange of hostages for prisoners. However, the group informed negotiators that not all of the hostages who would be released in the first phase are yet alive.

Under the proposed three-phase ceasefire agreement, Hamas will release 33 Israeli hostages, alive or dead, in exchange for Israel’s release of 30 children and women for each Israeli hostage released, based on the lists provided by Hamas according to the first date of detention.

Hamas said Monday it accepted a proposed truce in the seven-month war in Gaza. The announcement drew an enthusiastic crowd in the street.

In the first phase, Hamas will release three Israeli hostages on the third day of the deal, then release three more hostages every seven days, prioritizing women where possible, including civilians and conscripts, according to the proposal.

During the sixth week, Hamas will release all remaining civilian hostages covered by this phase. In exchange, Israel will release the agreed number of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, according to lists to be provided by Hamas.

On the third day after the release of the first Palestinian prisoners, Israeli forces will completely withdraw from al-Rashid Street in northern Gaza and all military sites will be dismantled.

On the 22nd day of the first phase, Israeli forces will withdraw from the center of the strip, east of the Salah al-Din road, to an area close to the Israeli border.

In the second phase, the group offered to release Israeli reservists and some soldiers in exchange for Israel releasing Palestinians from prison.

The third phase would see the completion of body swaps and the start of implementation of reconstruction according to the plan overseen by Qatar, Egypt and the United Nations.

For his part, an Israeli official said the deal was not acceptable to Israel because the conditions had been “softened,” Reuters reported.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the proposal “falls far from Israel’s essential demands” but that the government will send negotiators for negotiations “in order to exhaust the potential to reach an agreement.”

Hamas member Khalil al-Hayya told Qatar-based Al Jazeera that the proposal also includes a complete Israeli withdrawal from Gaza with the aim of a “permanent ceasefire.”

Netanyahu has pledged to send ground troops to Rafah regardless of any truce, defying international concerns.

In the statement responding to Hamas’ announcement, Netanyahu’s office also said the Rafah offensive would continue “to exert military pressure on Hamas to advance the release of our hostages.”

Netanyahu has rejected Hamas’ demands to end the war in Gaza in exchange for the release of hostages, saying it would keep the Palestinian Islamist group in power and pose a threat to Israel.

The war began after a Hamas attack on southern Israel on October 7, in which 1,200 people were killed and 252 hostages taken, according to Israeli counts.