Gaza: Hamas says no talks on swap deal before complete ceasefire

Hamas has announced that there would be no talks on a hostage swap deal before a complete ceasefire in the Gaza Sector

The Islamic Resistance Movement – Hamas announced Thursday that the Palestinian resistance groups have made a “national decision” ruling out any talks with Israel on a prisoner exchange deal before a comprehensive ceasefire in the Palestinian Sector.

This decision is contingent upon a comprehensive cessation of the war in the Gaza Strip, Hamas said in a statement on Telegram.

Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh arrived in Cairo yesterday amid Egyptian efforts to mediate a new hostage swap deal between the Palestinian group and Israel.

During a weeklong humanitarian pause in Gaza last month, Hamas released 81 Israelis and 24 foreigners in exchange for 240 Palestinians, including 71 women and 169 children.

Nearly 130 Israelis have been held as prisoners of war in the Gaza Strip since the seventh of October. Nearly 10,000 Palestinians, including children and women, are being detained by Israel, the majority of those released report being tortured while incarcerated.

Israeli strikes on ‘safe zones’

Journalists on Wednesday caught footage of Israeli air strikes on areas in southern Gaza, which the Israeli occupation army had claimed to be “safe”.

While Al Jazeera‘s correspondent Hani Mahmoud was reporting from the field live, an explosion was heard in the area and columns of smoke began to rise near the Kuwait Hospital in the city of Rafah.

Seconds after the initial attack, at least three more air strikes hit the same area, which Israel had told Palestinians to move to remain safe. Two journalists were among the at least 25 Palestinians who were reported to have been injured and taken to hospital following the strikes, though the cut in communications means details of those killed and injured could not be gathered.

The scenes showed a state of panic among Palestinian civilians, including children, who could be seen running in all directions amidst the sounds of explosions.

Since the seventh of October, the Israeli army has been waging a devastating war on Gaza, resulting in 19,667 deaths and 52,586 injuries as of Tuesday, most of whom are children and women, as well as immense destruction of infrastructure and an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe, according to the authorities in the region and the United Nations.

The number of those killed and injured could not be updated as a result of the cut in communications in the Strip.