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Hamas accepts new truce deal

HAMAS has accepted a U.S. proposal to begin talks on releasing Israeli hostages, including soldiers and men, 16 days after the first phase of an agreement aimed at ending the Gaza war. A senior Hamas source, speaking anonymously to Reuters, revealed that the militant group has dropped its demand for Israel to commit to a permanent ceasefire before signing the agreement.

Reuters reports that Hamas would allow negotiations for a permanent ceasefire throughout the six-week first phase of the agreement. The news agency cites a Palestinian official close to the peace efforts, who suggested this proposal could lead to a framework agreement if embraced by Israel, potentially ending the nine-month-old conflict.

An Israeli negotiating team source indicated on Friday that there was now a real chance of achieving an agreement, marking a shift from previous instances when Israel rejected Hamas’ conditions as unacceptable.

Reuters mentions that efforts to secure a ceasefire and hostage release have intensified recently, with active shuttle diplomacy among Washington, Israel, and Qatar. The news agency also reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that negotiations would continue next week.

Amid these developments, Reuters reports that Israeli forces have stepped up military strikes across Gaza, with at least 29 Palestinians killed in the past 24 hours and 100 others wounded, according to Gaza health officials. The article details various incidents, including the deaths of five local journalists and four Palestinian policemen in separate strikes.

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The news agency notes that Israel says its operations in Rafah aim to eradicate the last Hamas armed wing battalions, while Hamas denies Israeli accusations of using civilian properties for military purposes.

By The African Mirror