Hamas has demanded release of 3000 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel

Hamas. Amid relentless violence, families flee their shattered homes in Tal al-Hawa neighbourhood, seeking refuge in the southern Gaza Strip. Photo Courtesy: UNICEF/Eyad El Bab

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Gaza/IBNS-CMEDIA: Hamas has demanded the release of 3,000 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel , Al Arabiya news channel reported on Saturday, citing sources familiar with the talks.

Hamas had indirect talks with Israel on a fresh pause to fighting in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas wants the three-stage truce to include the release of Palestinian prisoners as a fourth stage, the sources told the broadcaster.

Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesman Majed Al-Ansari said on Friday that Israel had given a positive initial response to the newest truce proposal that would start with a six-week halt to fighting and include the release of dozens of hostages held by Hamas.

The truce proposal was agreed to in Paris in late January by Israel, the United States, Egypt and Qatar.

Hamas said it had received a draft and was reviewing it. Israeli media reported that the Mossad intelligence agency wanted the first stage of the plan to see 35 hostages released in exchange for a 35-day pause from fighting.

On October 7, 2023, Hamas launched a surprise large-scale rocket attack against Israel from Gaza and breached the border, killing 1,200 people and abducting around 240 others.

Israel launched retaliatory strikes, ordered a complete blockade of Gaza, and started a ground incursion into the Palestinian enclave with the declared goal of eliminating Hamas terrorists and rescuing the hostages. Over 27,000 people have been killed so far in the Gaza Strip, local authorities said.

On November 24, Qatar mediated a deal between Israel and Hamas on a temporary truce and the exchange of some of the prisoners and hostages, as well as the delivery of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.

The ceasefire was extended several times and expired on December 1. More than 100 hostages are still believed to be held by Hamas in Gaza.