Hamas demands end to fighting in response to proposed hostage deal

Senior Israeli officials says unacceptable terms in Hamas response to proposed deal is tantamount to a rejection of the proposal; Blinken arrives to discuss matter with leaders

Itamar Eichner, Agencies|
The Hamas terror group said on Tuesday that it submitted its response to Qatar and Egypt on the proposed hostage release deal agreed in the Paris summit last month.
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In a statement Hamas said that the terror group "dealt with the proposal in a positive spirit, ensuring a comprehensive and complete ceasefire, ending the aggression against our people, ensuring relief, shelter, and reconstruction, lifting the siege on the Gaza Strip, and achieving a prisoner swap".
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ציון 35 שנים להקמת ארגון הטרור חמאס בעזה
ציון 35 שנים להקמת ארגון הטרור חמאס בעזה
Yahya Sinwar
(Photo: AFP)
Israel was reviewing the Hamas response before issuing an official statement. Senior officials said that the unacceptable terms demanded by Hamas were tantamount to a negative answer.
Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani however, said that his country had received a "positive response" from Hamas on a framework deal. He said he could not provide further detail but said he was optimistic.
Standing by the prime minister during a press conference in Qatar U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the United States was reviewing a response from Hamas to the framework of the deal and that he would discuss the response with Israeli officials when he meets them on Wednesday.
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Antony Blinken
Antony Blinken
Antony Blinken
(Photo: Mark Schiefelbein, Pool / AP)
He said that there was still a lot of work to be done. "We continue to believe that an agreement is possible, and indeed essential," Blinken said adding that the United States was determined to use any pause in the fighting to build a diplomatic path forward to a "just and lasting peace" in the Middle East.
The New York Times reported earlier that the IDF believes that at least 20% of the hostages were already killed and informed their families. According to the military, 20 more may also no longer be alive although their fate has not been confirmed.
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