Benjamin Netanyahu gives ‘progress’ report on return of Hamas hostages
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that "we are making progress" on the return of hostages who were seized by Hamas during the October 7 attacks. Earlier, mediators said that a truce deal was in sight.
"I hope there will be good news soon," Benjamin Netanyahu told Israeli soldiers at a military base, as per news agency AFP. The war cabinet, security cabinet and the government will meet in succession "in light of the developments regarding the release of our hostages", his office said in a statement after Hamas leader and key mediator Qatar both said a truce agreement with Israel was close. The tentative agreement would include an exchange of hostages and Palestinian prisoners along with a five-day truce, it was reported.
"We want to restore security, we will act and achieve the return of security to both the south and the north," Israeli PM said, adding, “I want to salute you and tell you that we continue until victory.”
The deal is comprised of a complete ceasefire on the ground in the Gaza Strip and an end to Israeli air operations over the Palestinian territory, except in the north, AFP reported citing Hamas.
This comes as Israel claimed that Hamas was using civilians and hospitals as shields. Israel's relentless aerial bombardment in the enclave where 2.3 million Palestinians live has been criticised as well. after Hamas' Oct. 7 rampage into southern Israel.
More than 12,700 Palestinians — two-thirds of them women and children— have been killed since the war began while about 4,000 people are reported missing. Some 1,200 people have been killed in Israel and around 240 were taken captive by Hamas.