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Monday, December 4, 2023

“minor” obstacles before an agreement on the release of hostages

Qatar’s prime minister today expressed growing confidence in reaching a deal on the release of Israeli hostages from Hamas, calling the remaining obstacles ” very minor “. Only a few questions practices and logistics » remain to be resolved, declared Sheikh Mohamed ben Abdoulrahman al Thani during a press conference with the spokesperson for European diplomacy Josep Borrell. “ We are close enough to reach an agreement that will allow these people (the hostages) to return home safely “, he added.

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THE Washington Post reported on Saturday that Israel, the United States and Hamas had reached an agreement in principle to release dozens of women and children held hostage in Gaza in exchange for a five-day pause in fighting, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the White House have denied. According to the Washington Post, hostage releases could begin in the coming days, barring last minute obstacles. The daily cites sources with knowledge of this detailed six-page agreement.

Under the agreement, all sides would halt fighting for at least five days and hostages would be released daily in groups of 50 or more, the Post reported. Hamas captured some 240 hostages during the October 7 attack, which left 1,200 dead in southern Israel. The Israeli Prime Minister said that no ceasefire could be established until the hostages were released.

In Israel, relatives of those kidnapped on the day of the Hamas attack arrived in Jerusalem on Saturday after several days of walking to maintain pressure on their government and demand the release of the hostages.

The hospital judged “death zone” by WHO

On Saturday, the fighting between Israel and Gaza intensified. The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas claimed that Israeli strikes on the Jabaliya refugee camp, managed by the UN in the north of the territory, had left more than 80 dead, including at least 50 in a school which houses displaced people.

Al-Chif hospital, the largest in Gaza, has become a “death zone”, has said the World Health Organization (WHO). She wants to evacuate the last patients. Running out of water, medicine, food, electricity and medical equipment, the hospital is in a situation desperate », According to the WHO, which visited the site this Saturday.

The team saw a mass grave at the entrance to the hospital and were informed that more than 80 people had been buried there », According to the same source.

As of Saturday, the hospital still housed 25 caregivers and 291 patients, including 32 babies in critical condition, 22 patients on dialysis and two in intensive care, the WHO said. This Sunday, 31 premature babies were evacuated, announced the hospital director.

According to the Israeli army, which invaded the hospital on Wednesday morning, it houses a Hamas hideout installed in particular in a network of tunnels. The Islamist movement denies it.

In the Middle East, more and more countries are putting pressure on Israel for a ceasefire

Cascading attacks

The conflict now enters its 44th day, after a Hamas attack on Israeli soil on October 7 in which 1,200 people were killed, according to the Israeli authorities, the vast majority civilians. Since then, Israel has relentlessly attacked Palestinian territory. On Saturday evening, the Hamas government announced that 12,300 Palestinians had been killed in Israeli bombings since October 7, including more than 5,000 children.

Bombings on Gaza: the humanitarian tragedy

According to Hamas, on Saturday, a second strike hit a house in Jabaliya and killed 32 members of the same family, including 19 children. For its part, the Israeli army assures AFP that it has “ received reports of an incident in the Jabaliya area “, adding that he was ” under review “.

More than two-thirds of the Gaza Strip’s 2.4 million residents have been displaced by the war, according to the UN.