Israeli officials pessimistic over possible hostage deal; Iran moves warship to Red Sea

Officials say Hamas making outrageous demands Israel cannot accept following Saudi reports Israeli delegation heading to Cairo for talks

"It is more complicated than we thought," the officials said. "There are too many outrageous demands from Hamas pertaining to a cease-fire which we cannot accept."
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IDF reported on Monday that Sergeant First Class (res.) Amichai Yisrael Yehoshua Oster was killed in northern Gaza on Monday. Four others were badly hurt.
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עמיחי ישראל יהושע אוסטר
עמיחי ישראל יהושע אוסטר
Sergeant First Class (res.) Amichai Yisrael Yehoshua Oster
(Photo: IDF)
Oster, 24, from the West Bank settlement of Karnei Shomron, was traveling in the U.S. when the war broke out. He immediately cut his trip short to return to Israel, determined to join the war effort. He is survived by his parents and four siblings.
Israeli officials said on Monday that they were not hopeful that a hostage deal would be reached soon after Hamas released its terms which are unacceptable to Israel.
The Saudi Al Arabiya network reported earlier that an Israeli delegation was expected to arrive in Cairo for talks on a possible hostage deal. According to the television channel, a delegation of senior members of Hamas were also in the Egyptian capital for discussion on a cease-fire. A Hamas source told the media outlet that there was no change in the group's demand to reject any talk of a hostage exchange before an end to the fighting.
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 עצרת הזדהות בכיכר החטופים - ישראלים לא מפקירים אחים
 עצרת הזדהות בכיכר החטופים - ישראלים לא מפקירים אחים
Posters with pictures of Israelis held captive in Gaza
(Photo: Alberto Pizzoli / AFP)
According to the report, the deal would include the release of up to 40 hostages, among them women, the elderly and infirmed in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners convicted and jailed in Israel and a cease-fire that would last between 21 to 30 days.
The IDF on Monday revealed a clip filmed by Hamas fighters, showing one who hid an RPG under an innocuous-looking blanket, using it to target Israeli armored vehicles and troops. On camera, the terrorist claims that he had destroyed three IDF Merkava tanks with his weapon.
Hamas fighter hides RPG used against IDF 
(Video: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

The footage was found by an IDF force after they had killed the terrorist on tape and uncovered his camera. The force commander said the images prove that Hamas was hiding among civilians in their war against Israel.
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תיעוד ממצלמת מחבל החמאס שנתפסה מלווה בהסבר של מפקד גדוד שקד, סגן-אלוף יאיר שלוחמיו חיסלו את המחבל
תיעוד ממצלמת מחבל החמאס שנתפסה מלווה בהסבר של מפקד גדוד שקד, סגן-אלוף יאיר שלוחמיו חיסלו את המחבל
Hamas terrorists with an RPG in Gaza
(Photo: IDF)
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Hamas terrorists hides an RPG in a blanket
Hamas terrorists hides an RPG in a blanket
Hamas terrorists hiding an RPG in a blanket
(Photo: IDF)
Israeli authorities told the family of Kibbutz Be'eri resident Ilan Weiss who had been missing since the Hamas massacre of October 7, that he was now confirmed to have been killed during the terrorist attack.
Iran on Monday said it had deployed its Alborz warship to the Red Sea. the move comes amid growing tensions in the area of the Bab Al Mandab straits after Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, have been targeting commercial shipping with missiles and drones in what they claim to be an act of support of Hamas in its war against Israel.
A senior Hamas delegation arrived in Cairo for talks on a possible cease-fire in the war in Gaza, the Saudi Al Arabiya network reported on Monday. A Hamas source told the paper that there was no change in the group's demand to reject any talk of a hostage exchange before an end to the fighting.
Senior defense officials said on Monday that they believe Hamas would be able to maintain a stockpile of rockets and its military capability to fire them in the coming two to three years due to its massive military build-up over the past 14 years. As a result, Israel began preparing additional shelters and barriers to protect the area along the border.
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יירוטים מעל שדרות
יירוטים מעל שדרות
A Hamas rocket is intercepted over Sderot in October
(Photo: Jack Guez / AFP)
IDF Spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said in a statement on Monday that there can be no happy new year until all hostages, abducted by Hamas during its assault and massacre on October 7, are returned safely.
"A new year with the same Hamas terror. while 129 Israelis are still being held captive by Hamas in Gaza, the terror group decided to begin 2024 with a barrage of rockets at Israel, the military spokesperson said. "There is no happy new year until everyone is home."
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יירוטים בשמי אשקלון
יירוטים בשמי אשקלון
Rocket fire intercepted over Ashkelon as 2024 begins
(Photo: Reuters)
An incoming air raid siren was heard in Sderot at precisely midnight, marking the start of 2024. Barrages to the central lowlands activated alerts in Rehovot, Ness Ziona, Be'er Yaakov, Rishon Lezion, Ramla, Lod, Holon, Bat Yam and Mikveh Israel. Alarms were also activated in the communities of Sha'ar HaNegev, Gezer, Brenner, Sdot Dan, Gan Raveh, and Mateh Yehuda regional councils, Holon, Azor, Gedera, and Modi'in.
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יירוטים בשמי גוש דן
יירוטים בשמי גוש דן
Air defenses shoot down incoming Gaza rockets over central Israel
Israel was exerting pressure on Egypt to allow its military to operate along the Egyptian border with Gaza by economic means, the Qatari-owned Al-Araby Al-Jadeed newspaper reported on Monday. Sources told the paper that Egypt would struggle to allow Israeli military operations on the Philadelphi Corridor where it hopes to thwart the smuggling of weapons to Hamas. The economic incentives would be considerable amid Egypt's current financial difficulties, the sources said.
First published: 08:47, 01.01.24
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