Biden expects Israel-Hamas truce and hostage exchange by next week

Biden expects Israel-Hamas truce and hostage exchange by next week

President Joe Biden said on Monday that he was hopeful that a deal to end the war between Israel and Hamas and to free the remaining hostages on both sides could be reached by early next week. He made the comments in New York after appearing on a show with comedian Seth Meyers.

Biden said he was briefed by his national security adviser that the talks were making progress. He said he expected that by the weekend or by next Monday, a six-week truce would be in place, allowing for the release of about 130 hostages held by Hamas in Gaza and hundreds of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

US President Joe Biden answers a question from a member of the news media as he visits an ice cream shop in downtown

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The proposed truce, brokered by Egypt and Qatar, would also include the delivery of humanitarian aid to the devastated Gaza Strip, where more than 29,000 Palestinians have been killed and 69,000 wounded since the war erupted in October.

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The war was sparked by a Hamas-led attack into southern Israel, where the militants killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and captured around 250 others. Israel retaliated with a massive air and ground campaign on Gaza, aiming to destroy Hamas’ military capabilities and prevent future attacks.

Israel has refused any unconditional truce, insisting on its right to self-defense and demanding the return of all hostages. Hamas has demanded an end to the war, the lifting of the blockade on Gaza, and the release of all Palestinian prisoners.

The negotiations face a looming deadline of the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which usually sees a rise in tensions and violence in the region. Biden said he was working with the mediators to push for a peaceful solution.

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Meanwhile, the war has also triggered a series of skirmishes between Israel and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which supports Hamas. On Monday, Israel bombed Hezbollah weapons depots near the southern Lebanese city of Sidon, injuring 14 people. The attack came after a Hezbollah drone exploded near an Israeli city earlier in the day.


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