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Wednesday, February 28, 2024  
17 Shaban 1445  

No prisoner exchange with Israel until there is ceasefire in Gaza: Hamas

Cites hostages include Israeli soldiers, civilian who had served in Israeli army
This picture taken from southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip shows smoke rising from buildings after being hit by Israeli strikes, as battles resume between Israel and Hamas , on 1 December 2023. AFP
This picture taken from southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip shows smoke rising from buildings after being hit by Israeli strikes, as battles resume between Israel and Hamas , on 1 December 2023. AFP

Deputy Hamas chief Saleh Al-Arouri told the pan-Arab Al Jazeera TV on Saturday that no more prisoners would be exchanged with Israel until there was a ceasefire in Gaza.

Arouri said the hostages still being held captive by Hamas were Israeli soldiers and civilian men who had previously served in the Israeli army.

He said they would not be freed unless there was a ceasefire and all Palestinian detainees were also released.

“Let the war take its course. This decision is final. We will not compromise on it,” Arouri said.

Meanwhile, Israeli war planes and artillery continued bombarding Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip, hitting mosques and homes and close to a hospital, after the collapse of a truce in the nearly two-month-old war between Israel and Hamas.

The Gaza health ministry said at least 193 Palestinians had been killed and 650 wounded since the truce ended on Friday morning - adding to the more than 15,000 Palestinians dead since the start of the war.

The head of the International Red Cross said the renewed fighting was intense.

QATAR SAYS NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUING

Qatar, which has played a central mediating role, said negotiations were still going on with Israelis and Palestinians to restore the truce, but Israel’s renewed bombardment of Gaza had complicated matters.

An Israeli official in Washington said it was a “very high priority” to get as many hostages released as possible.

“And for that, under agreed terms, Israel is willing to give additional pauses,” the official said, while adding: “We can negotiate while we still fight.”

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