Hamas claims it hasn’t got 40 hostages Israel wants for first round of ceasefire

It came after an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip killed three sons of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh

Barney Davis
Wednesday 10 April 2024 18:39 BST
Israeli demonstrators call on the government to secure the release of hostages held in the Gaza Strip by Hamas during a rally
Israeli demonstrators call on the government to secure the release of hostages held in the Gaza Strip by Hamas during a rally (AP)

Hamas has claimed it does not have the 40 hostages needed to fulfil the demands of the first round of ceasefire negotiations, according to Israeli sources.

US president Joe Biden is pushing a plan for Israel and Hamas to agree to a six to eight-week ceasefire providing Hamas release hostages - a group that includes older men, civilians and both male and female Israeli soldiers who have been held for 187 days now.

According to Axios, in the terms of the agreement Israel would release 700 Palestinian security prisoners, including more than 100 serving life for attacks that killed Israelis.

Meirav Gilboa-Dalal, left, shows a photo of her son Guy, one of the hostages being held by Hamas (AP)

However, Israel’s Channel 12 News cited mediators as saying that Hamas had “no ability to release 40 abductees as part of the humanitarian deal and insists on other numbers – less than [the number sought] by Israel”.

Israel had also requested the addition of a “single-digit number” of fighting-aged men to make up the shortfall to 40, according to reports.

The Israeli prime minister’s office also told CNN that of the 129 hostages from October 7 massacre, at least 33 are dead. But the latest discussions have sparked fears that more hostages may be dead than have been publicly revealed.

An Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday killed three sons of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who accused Israel of acting in “the spirit of revenge and murder”.

Haniyeh’s sons are among the highest-profile figures to have been killed in the war so far. It was not immediately clear how their deaths might affect the months-long cease-fire talks.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh lost three sons in Gaza (AP)

Haniyeh confirmed the deaths Wednesday in an interview with the Al Jazeera satellite channel, saying his sons “were martyred on the road to liberating Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

“The criminal enemy is driven by the spirit of revenge and murder and does not value any standards or laws,” he said in the phone interview.

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli army.

In his interview with Al Jazeera, Haniyeh said the killings would not pressure Hamas into softening its positions.

“The enemy believes that by targeting the families of the leaders, it will push them to give up the demands of our people,” he said. “Anyone who believes that targeting my sons will push Hamas to change its position is delusional.”

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