February 20, 2024

GAZA/JERUSALEM/WASHINGTON: Intense worldwide mediation efforts are working towards exchanging Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners throughout a proposed month-long ceasefire in Gaza, Reuters reported on Tuesday, because the White Home stated its envoy was having lively discussions on the problem. Qatar, the US and Egypt have held shuttle diplomacy since Dec. 28 and Israel and Hamas broadly agree in precept to the framework plan, sources stated. It’s being held up by the 2 sides’ variations over find out how to carry a everlasting finish to the Gaza struggle, sources stated.

The US State Division and White Home, Qatar’s international ministry and Egypt’s State Info Service didn’t instantly reply to requests for touch upon the Reuters report.

On Monday, Israel suffered its worse lack of troopers in over three months of battle, 24 deaths in two separate incidents. Israeli officers reiterated that the goals of its struggle in opposition to the Palestinian Hamas motion that runs Gaza have been unchanged and that efforts have been being made to result in launch of greater than 100 hostages.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated: “Within the title of our heroes, for the sake of our lives, we is not going to cease preventing till absolute victory.”

Israeli authorities spokesman Eylon Levy stated there could be no ceasefire that left Hamas in energy and hostages in Gaza, following the militant group’s cross-border rampage on Oct. 7 through which some 1,200 Israelis have been killed.

Palestinian well being officers stated a minimum of 195 Palestinians had been killed up to now 24 hours, elevating the documented demise toll from Israeli air strikes and shelling to 25,490. Hundreds extra are feared misplaced within the rubble.

“The whole inhabitants of Gaza is enduring destruction at a scale and velocity with out parallel in current historical past,” United Nations Secretary-Normal Antonio Guterres informed the Safety Council.

“Nothing can justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian folks,” he stated, denouncing Israel’s opposition to creation of a Palestinian state that might exist alongside Israel.

The troopers’ deaths got here on the day the Israeli navy launched its largest operation in a month, to grab remaining components of Khan Younis, encircling Gaza’s important southern metropolis that’s sheltering tons of of hundreds of displaced Palestinians.

Israeli forces have killed greater than 100 militants in western Khan Younis up to now 24 hours, navy spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari stated on Tuesday night. Israel says it has killed round 9,000 militants in whole. Reuters is unable to confirm the quantity.


Earlier within the day, Qatar’s international ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari stated it had “introduced concepts to either side, we’re getting a continuing stream of replies from either side, and that in its personal proper is a trigger for optimism.”

Later, White Home spokesperson John Kirby stated US Center East envoy Brett McGurk was in Cairo and would journey within the area for “lively” discussions on guaranteeing launch of hostages and securing a humanitarian pause.

“The conversations are very sober and critical about attempting to get one other hostage deal in place,” Kirby informed reporters.

Every of the warring sides blamed the opposite for inflicting the collapse of a seven-day truce in November by rejecting phrases to increase the day by day launch of hostages held by militants in trade for Palestinian detainees.

Ladies, kids and international hostages have been freed, however mediators failed on the last hour to discover a components to launch extra, together with Israeli troopers and civilian males.


Hamas’ armed wing stated it was chargeable for a rocket assault that killed 21 Israeli troopers on Monday.

Israeli navy spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari informed reporters in Tel Aviv that the militants’ rockets hit a constructing the place Israeli forces had laid explosives to demolish it. The strike triggered that constructing and one subsequent to it to break down, he stated.

Three troopers have been killed in a separate assault. In whole, 220 Israeli troopers have been killed for the reason that begin of the bottom offensive in late October.

On Tuesday, advancing Israeli tanks shut the street out of Khan Younis towards the Mediterranean coast, blocking the escape route for civilians attempting to succeed in Rafah, the final city on Gaza’s southern edge bordering Egypt — now full of greater than half the enclave’s 2.3 million folks.

The Israelis have blockaded hospitals, which Palestinian officers say makes it unimaginable to rescue the wounded. On the European Hospital, reached by Reuters in southern Khan Younis, Ahed Masmah introduced in 5 corpses, piled on a mattress on his donkey cart.

“I discovered them face down on the street,” he stated.

At Khan Younis’ important Nasser hospital, the most important nonetheless functioning within the Gaza Strip, our bodies have been being buried on the grounds as a result of it was unsafe to exit to the cemetery.

Ashraf Al-Qidra, spokesperson for Gaza’s well being ministry, stated medical groups have been unable to switch important instances from the Nasser Medical Advanced to the close by Jordanian subject hospital resulting from ongoing shelling.

Israel says Hamas fighters function in and round hospitals, which hospital workers and Hamas deny.

Martin Griffiths, UN coordinator of emergency reduction, stated on Tuesday that 24 folks have been killed in strikes on an assist warehouse, UN heart and humanitarian zone within the Khan Younis space. A distribution heart the place households obtain assist was below heavy bombardment, he stated on social media platform X.