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Hamas responds to proposed Gaza ceasefire plan


Hamas says it has given its response to a framework proposal for a new ceasefire in Gaza.

The details of the deal – set out by Israel, the US, Qatar and Egypt – have not been released.

It was earlier reported to include a six-week truce, when more Israeli hostages would be exchanged for Palestinian prisoners.

Israel and the US have both said they are reviewing Hamas’s response.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is currently in the Middle East, said he would discuss Hamas’s response with officials in Israel on Wednesday.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done, but we continue to believe that an agreement is possible, and indeed essential,” Mr Blinken said.

A senior Hamas official told the BBC the group had presented a “positive vision” in response but had asked for some amendments relating to the rebuilding of Gaza, the return of its residents to their homes and the provisions for those who had been displaced.

The official said Hamas had also asked for changes to the framework relating to the treatment of those injured, including their return home and transfer to hospitals abroad for treatment.

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al Thani has described Hamas’s response as “positive” in general.

“This response makes us hopeful and we have presented this response to the Israeli side,” he said at a news conference.

The conflict in Gaza was triggered by an unprecedented cross-border attack by Hamas gunmen on southern Israel on 7 October, in which about 1,300 people were killed and about 250 others taken hostage.

More than 27,500 people have been killed in Gaza since then, according to the territory’s Hamas-run health ministry.

During a week-long ceasefire in late November, 105 Israeli and foreign hostages were freed in exchange for 240 Palestinians held in Israeli jails.

On Tuesday, Israel confirmed that 31 of the 136 remaining hostages in Gaza had been killed.

Hamas is proscribed as a terrorist organisation by Israel, the UK, US and other countries.

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