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Hamas negotiators arrive in Cairo for Gaza truce talks

Hamas negotiators arrive in Cairo for Gaza truce talks

HAMAS negotiators began intensified talks on a possible Gaza truce that would see a halt to the fighting and the return to Israel of some hostages, a Hamas official told Reuters, with the CIA director already present in Cairo for the indirect diplomacy. The Hamas delegation arrived from the Palestinian Islamist movement's political office in Qatar, which, along with Egypt, has tried to mediate a follow-up to a brief November ceasefire amid mounting international dismay over the soaring death toll in Gaza and the plight of its 2.3 million inhabitants. Taher Al-Nono, a Hamas official and advisor to Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh,…
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Fighting across Gaza as Israel drops leaflets seeking its hostages

Fighting across Gaza as Israel drops leaflets seeking its hostages

ISRAEL pounded targets across the Gaza Strip while its planes dropped leaflets on the southern area of Rafah urging Palestinians seeking refuge there to help locate hostages held by Hamas, residents said. Palestinian fighters battled tanks trying to push back into the eastern suburbs of the Jabalia area in northern Gaza, where Israel had started pulling out troops and shifting to smaller-scale operations, residents and militants said. The Israeli military said aircraft struck militant squads trying to plant explosives near troops and fire missiles at tanks in northern Gaza and said it was striking targets throughout Gaza. In the southern area…
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Hamas appears to show dead bodies of two hostages after warning Israel

Hamas appears to show dead bodies of two hostages after warning Israel

HAMAS appeared to show the dead bodies of two Israeli hostages after warning Israel they might be killed if it did not stop its bombardment of Gaza. A new video released by the Palestinian militant group purportedly showed the bodies of Yossi Sharabi, 53, and Itai Svirsky, 38, who had appeared in an initial video on Sunday. It also showed a third Israeli hostage, university student Noa Argamani, 26, seemingly reading a script in front of a blank white wall, saying the two were killed by Israeli strikes. Israel's military spokesperson said there was serious concern regarding the fate of the hostages purported…
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Somalia says it’s working to rescue hostages from UN helicopter

Somalia says it’s working to rescue hostages from UN helicopter

SOMALIA'S government is working to rescue the passengers of a U.N. helicopter that was captured by al Shabaab militants, a spokesperson said, but military officers said it would be difficult to access the area where they were taken. The U.N.-contracted helicopter was conducting an air medical evacuation when a technical problem forced it to make an emergency landing near Hindhere village in central Somalia, an area controlled by the militants. Two Somali men and several foreigners were on board, and many were taken hostage by the militants, two officers told Reuters. It was not clear exactly how many were captured and whether…
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Netanyahu, Hamas leader indicate deal on Gaza truce and hostages is close

Netanyahu, Hamas leader indicate deal on Gaza truce and hostages is close

THE leader of Hamas said that a truce deal with Israel was close and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he hoped for good news soon about hostages, the most optimistic signals so far of a deal to pause the war in Gaza and free captives. Hamas officials were "close to reaching a truce agreement" with Israel and the group had delivered its response to Qatari mediators, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said in a statement sent to Reuters by his aide. Netanyahu said: "We are making progress. I don't think it's worth saying too much, not at even this moment, but…
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U.S., Israel and Hamas reach tentative deal to pause conflict and free dozens of hostages

U.S., Israel and Hamas reach tentative deal to pause conflict and free dozens of hostages

ISRAEL, the United States and Hamas have reached a tentative agreement to free dozens of women and children held hostage in Gaza in exchange for a five-day pause in fighting, the Washington Post reported, citing people familiar with the deal. As part of the detailed, six-page agreement, all parties would freeze combat operations for at least five days while "an initial 50 or more hostages are released in smaller groups every 24 hours", the Post reported. Hamas took about 240 hostages during its October 7 rampage inside Israel that killed 1,200 people. The newspaper said overhead surveillance would monitor ground…
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Iran denies seized Korean ship and crew are being held as hostages

Iran denies seized Korean ship and crew are being held as hostages

SANGMI CHA and JOSH SMITH IRAN has denied that it was using a South Korean ship and its crew as hostages, a day after it seized the tanker in the Gulf while pressing a demand for Seoul to release $7 billion in funds frozen under U.S. sanctions. The seizure of the MT Hankuk Chemi and its 20-member crew near the strategic Strait of Hormuz has been seen as an attempt by Tehran to assert its demands, just two weeks before President-elect Joe Biden takes office in the United States. Iran wants Biden to lift sanctions imposed by outgoing President Donald…
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Five abducted from Mali construction site

Five abducted from Mali construction site

THREE Chinese nationals and two Mauritanians have been abducted from a construction site in northern Mali when gunmen raided the site for equipment and took hostages, the army said. The raid took place 55 kilometres (34 miles) from the town of Kwala, a regular transit point for companies moving through Mali's desert north, the army said in a statement. Later that evening, gunmen attacked a road checkpoint in the country's central San region, around 400 km from Bamako, and killed three civilians, the army said in a second statement. No group has yet taken responsibility for either attack. Parts of…
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