Hamas Hostage Deal Framework Revealed

Hamas’s high-ranking official, Osama Hamdan, revealed in Lebanon that the group is currently “reviewing” a proposed framework for a hostage deal before officially announcing their stance. As the Israel-Hamas conflict approaches its four-month mark, Hamdan stressed the need for more time to assess the presented framework, which involves negotiations with Israel and mediators from Qatar, Egypt, and the US.

During a press conference, Hamdan reiterated Hamas’s willingness to consider any initiative aimed at ending what he described as “barbaric aggression against our Palestinian people.” Meanwhile, health authorities in Gaza, under Hamas control, reported over 27,000 confirmed Palestinian casualties since the conflict’s onset following Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7, as per Reuters.

The latest developments in the Israel-Hamas war include a truce proposal featuring a six-week pause in fighting, with potential extensions, and exchanges of hostages for Palestinian prisoners. Hamdan accused Israel of rejecting previous initiatives, prolonging the aggression.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to embark on a five-day trip to the Middle East, aiming to continue diplomatic efforts for a comprehensive agreement, including the release of hostages in Gaza and a ceasefire to aid civilians.

On the ground, Israeli airstrikes in Gaza resulted in the death of 18 Palestinians in Rafah and Deir Al-Balah. The US Senate is considering a Republican-backed proposal for $17.6 billion in military aid for Israel, excluding additional support for Ukraine, labeled by the White House as a “cynical political maneuver.”

Furthermore, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced an investigation into allegations linking UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) members to Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel. Australia had previously suspended funding to the aid agency last month pending resolution.

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