Thursday February 22, 2024

Israel, Hamas reach initial agreement on humanitarian truce

Published : 15 Nov 2023, 02:14

  DF News Desk
Photo taken on Nov. 13, 2023 shows the rubble of buildings destroyed in an Israeli bombing at Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza Strip. Photo: Xinhua by Rizek Abdeljawad.

An informed Palestinian source said on Tuesday that delegates of Israel and Hamas had reached an initial agreement to implement a temporary humanitarian cease-fire under international and Arab sponsorship, reported Xinhua.

The source, who requested to remain anonymous, told Xinhua that the delegates had to report to senior authorities on both sides for approval and the agreement could be "implemented at any moment."

The source refused to talk about the details of the agreement, but said that "it will be implemented in stages."

He added that a humanitarian truce was expected to be announced soon, under which civilian hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip will be released in exchange for the release of women and children detained by Israel.

Meanwhile, Hamas on Tuesday denied using hospitals in the Gaza Strip for military purposes, dismissing such Israeli accusations as "lies," according to the media office of the Gaza-ruling Palestinian faction.

What the Israeli army presented regarding the Al-Rantisi Children's Hospital in Gaza City were "videos made in a contradictory, unprofessional, and illogical manner," and included "composite and fabricated scenes that mislead public opinion," the media office said in a statement.

It accused the Israeli army of "making lies and practicing misinformation and incitement in preparation for destroying hospitals ... over the heads of patients, medical staff, and displaced people."

Meanwhile, the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza said what the Israeli army showed and termed as an arsenal located beneath the hospital was a "poor charade," denying any involvement with the displayed weapons and items that Israel claimed for holding hostages.

On Monday, Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hajari claimed that there was evidence indicating the presence of Israeli prisoners inside the hospital and Palestinian militants using the hospital as a hideout following the Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

Israel surrounded a number of hospitals in Gaza City in recent days on suspicion that their underground facilities have been used as Hamas military bases and command.

Earlier, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Tuesday that Israel was "controlling" the northern Gaza Strip.

"In the northern Gaza Strip, Hamas has lost control," Gallant told a press briefing. "We now effectively control both the upper and underground areas of the northern strip, particularly in Gaza City," he said.

He added that he had "authorized the army to keep moving forward in the next days."

Earlier on Tuesday, Israel Defense Forces Spokesman Daniel Hagari announced that troops had seized control of Hamas's governing institutions in Gaza, including Hamas's parliament, government, military offices, police headquarters, the governor's house, and other facilities.

Israel attacked the Gaza Strip to retaliate the Hamas-led attacks on southern Israel on Oct. 7, in which Hamas militants killed about 1,200 people and took more than 200 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

The ongoing conflict, raging into the second month, has killed over 11,500 Palestinians in the coastal enclave, said the Hamas-run Health Ministry.