Hamas rejects hostage release deal, insists on Israeli troops withdrawal from Gaza

Hamas has turned down a proposed framework for a hostage exchange with Israel, stating it will not agree to any pact that does not mandate a full Israeli troop withdrawal from Gaza.

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Hamas has turned down a proposed framework for a hostage exchange with Israel, stating it will not agree to any pact that does not mandate a full Israeli troop withdrawal from Gaza.

Joint statement calls for end to Gaza blockade

After Israel reportedly signed off on the deal during recent talks in Paris, Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine issued a joint statement insisting any agreement must terminate Israel’s 15-year blockade of Gaza.

The Palestinian militant groups said Israel must halt its military offensive before negotiations on a prisoner swap can advance. A senior Hamas official further called for a “complete and comprehensive ceasefire” in the embattled territory — seemingly contradicting the faction’s own demands.

Multi-phase accord outlines gradual hostage releases

Details have emerged on the tentative pact crafted between intelligence agencies from the U.S., Israel, Egypt and Qatar.

The phased accord entails the staggered release of all Israeli hostages held by Hamas. An initial group of vulnerable captives such as women, children, the elderly and the infirm would be freed first.

Brief halts in Israel’s bombardment of Gaza would accompany each phase of hostage releases under the reported framework.

Israel would free Palestinian prisoners, allow more Gaza aid

In turn, Israel would permit increased humanitarian assistance into Gaza, which faces critical shortages of food, water and medicine due to the blockade.

Israeli officials would also release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners detained in recent fighting. But the number of freed inmates would depend on the number of Israeli hostages liberated in each stage, per reports.

Deal hinges on temporary truce, but Gaza blockade stays

The tentative pact does not guarantee a permanent Gaza ceasefire, according to Israeli media. It instead centers on a 45-day pause in hostilities in exchange for 35-40 hostages initially.

For every Israeli hostage freed, Israel would release 100-250 jailed Palestinians under the deal. Further extensions of the truce could involve more prisoner releases.

But the agreement does not lift Israel’s air and sea blockade of Gaza imposed since 2007, which Hamas has demanded in return for the captured Israelis.

Deep mistrust remains between bitter enemies

While the Qatari prime minister expressed optimism about negotiations, Israel remains cautious about delivering concessions without a reciprocal commitment by Hamas hardliners.

“There is still a long road ahead,” an Israeli official conceded, underscoring the atmosphere of mistrust between sworn adversaries.

Over 250 Israelis — mostly civilians — have been held hostage by Hamas since October 7, when the terror organization launched a series of deadly attacks on Israel, prompting retaliatory strikes.