Hamas’ military wing yesterday accused Israel of delaying over a prospective Qatar-mediated deal to release dozens of hostages they are holding in Gaza, as part of a prisoner swap scheme.
Abu Obeida, a spokesman for the armed wing of the Islamist movement said: “Qatari mediation has led efforts” to release 100 Israeli hostages in return for 200 Palestinian children and 75 women held in Israeli prisons.
“We informed the mediators we could release the hostages if we obtained five days of truce… and passage of aid to all of our people throughout the Gaza Strip, but the enemy is procrastinating,” he said in an audio statement.
On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US media “there could be” a deal to free hostages held in Gaza but stopped short of providing any details.
Israeli officials say around 240 people, including foreigners, were taken hostage when Hamas militants from the Gaza Strip surged through the heavily militarised border with Israel on October 7, killing around 1,200 people, mostly civilians.
Among those captured were at least 30 minors, including some young children.
After the attack, Israel began an intensive bombing campaign in Gaza which the Hamas government says has killed 11,240, also mostly civilians.
Political leaders and army chiefs in Israel have said there will be no ceasefire until the hostages are freed