Israel-Hamas War Escalates Amidst Tensions

Biden optimistic about Israel-Hamas cease-fire and hostage swap deal

President Joe Biden expressed his hope on Monday that a deal to end the hostilities between Israel and Hamas and to free the remaining hostages could be reached by early next week. He made the remarks in New York after recording a show with comedian Seth Meyers.

Biden said he was informed by his national security adviser that the negotiations were close to a breakthrough. He said he hoped that by the end of the weekend or by next Monday, a six-week cease-fire would take effect, allowing for the release of around 130 hostages held by Hamas in Gaza and hundreds of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

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The proposed cease-fire, mediated by Egypt and Qatar, would also include the delivery of humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza Strip, where more than 29,000 Palestinians have been killed and 69,000 wounded since the war began in October.

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The war was triggered by a Hamas-led raid into southern Israel, where the militants killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducted around 250 others. Israel responded with a massive aerial and ground assault on Gaza, aiming to destroy Hamas’ military infrastructure and deter future attacks.

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Israel has rejected any unconditional cease-fire, insisting on its right to defend itself 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 talks face a looming deadline of the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which usually sees a spike in tensions and violence in the region. Biden said he was working with the mediators to push for a peaceful resolution.
Meanwhile, the war has also sparked a series of clashes 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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Source : yahoo finance

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