Sunday, May 19, 2024

Blinken ceasefire comments meant to acquit Israel: Hamas official

Senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri stated that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's comments on the Gaza ceasefire talks are an attempt to put pressure on the Palestinian group and acquit Israel.

Abu Zuhri told Reuters news agency the group was still studying the recent ceasefire offer.

Blinken has said Washington was determined to get a ceasefire in Gaza that brings captives home as he started talks with Israel’s leadership on Wednesday.

Blinken claimed “the only reason that that wouldn’t be achieved is because of Hamas”, despite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying Tuesday that he will not agree to end the war.

Hamas has repeatedly stressed it will not sign off on any ceasefire deal that does not guarantee a permanent end to Israel’s assault on Gaza.

As the longwinded talks, mediated by Qatar and Egypt, continue, the Israeli military has continued deadly military operations inside the tiny enclave, which remains blockaded.

More than 34,500 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed, while the 2.3-million-strong population have been left in dire conditions, amid shortages of food, shelter and medicine.

The armed group continues to hold more than 100 captives taken from Israel during its raid across the enclave’s northern border on October 7, which killed more than 1,100.

A previous deal in November saw the release of 81 Israelis and 24 foreigners in exchange for 240 Palestinians, including 71 women and 169 children.

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