Hamas accepts new Gaza ceasefire proposal, hostage release deal

Israel and Palestine are engaged in a conflict since October last year.
Israel and Palestine are engaged in a conflict since late 2023. Photo Courtesy: UNRWA

Hamas has said it has informed Qatari and Egyptian mediators that it has accepted the proposal for the implementation of a new Gaza ceasefire.

Hamas said a hostage release deal has also been reached.

“The ball is now in Israel’s court,” an official in the Palestinian group told BBC.

However, Israel said the terms that Hamas claimed to have accepted did not match with it.

Israel, earlier, carried out airstrikes on Rafah.

Tens of thousands of residents are believed to be affected by the operation and many were seen cramming into vehicles or onto donkey carts on Monday, reported BBC.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has welcomed the efforts by Egypt and Qatar to mediate a ceasefire agreement for the Gaza Strip.

In a statement published by the Palestinian news agency (WAFA) as quoted by Xinhua, Abbas expressed hope for Israel’s commitment to “ceasefire and complete withdrawal from the Strip”.

The conflict began last year after Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, leaving 1,200 people dead and taking away 250 people as hostages.

The Israeli military began its Gaza campaign after the attack.

Following the deal in November, Hamas released 105 hostages during the week-long ceasefire.

During the period, 240 Palestinian prisoners were also released from Israeli prisons.

Israel said 128 hostages remain unaccounted for in Gaza, at least 34 of whom are presumed dead, reports BBC.

Children on ‘edge of survival’

Echoing that alert, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned that “a military besiegement and ground incursion in Rafah would pose catastrophic risks to the 600,000 children” sheltering there.

Many “are highly vulnerable and at the edge of survival”, the UN agency said in a statement, highlighting increased violence in Rafah and the fact that potential evacuation corridors were “likely mined or littered with unexploded ordnance”.

Any military move on Rafah will likely result in very high civilian casualties while also destroying “the few remaining basic services and infrastructure” that people need to survive, UNICEF insisted.

“Hundreds of thousands of children who are now cramped into Rafah are injured, sick, malnourished, traumatised or living with disabilities,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. “Many have been displaced multiple times and have lost homes, parents and loved ones. They need to be protected along with the remaining services that they rely on, including medical facilities and shelter.”