Hamas rules out captive swap deal until end of war

2023-12-12 12:04:49
Hamas rules out captive swap deal until end of war

A representative of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas has said there will be no new captive swap deal with Israel until the genocidal aggression against the besieged territory comes to an end.

In a press briefing in Beirut on Monday, Osama Hamdan, Hamas representative in Lebanon and also a member of the group’s politburo dismissed reports that said Israel is ready to resume contact with mediators for the possible release of the remaining Israeli captives held in Gaza.

“There will be no agreement on the exchange of more captives for prisoners before the onslaught [against Gaza] ceases. The Israeli media reports about the possibility of a new prisoner swap [with Hamas] are meant to mislead the public opinion in the face of increasing domestic discontent,” Hamdan said.

“No compromise is acceptable over the blood of fallen Palestinians. [Israeli prime minister] Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to escape from the regime’s internal conflicts, especially the crisis with the families of the captives held in Gaza.”

Earlier on Monday, Israel’s Channel 12 television channel reported that the new prisoner exchange deal would be carried out within the framework of a truce, and would include women still in captivity, patients, the wounded, and elderly people.

It added that Israeli officials believe that the chances of reaching a new prisoner swap deal with Hamas are not likely next week, but Israel still believes in opening a new path.

Since November 24, Hamas exchanged 110 captives, including 80 Israelis, for 240 Palestinians illegally abducted by the regime and kept in Israeli jails during a 7-day pause in the Gaza war.

The truce, meditated by Qatar and Egypt, also allowed the delivery of much-needed humanitarian aid into Gaza after weeks of Israeli attacks on the territory.

Israeli sources say Hamas still holds 137 captives after it carried out Operation Al-Aqsa Storm on October 7 in the occupied territories, during which some 1,200 Israeli settlers and military forces were also killed.

Hamas has repeatedly said that talks over Israeli soldiers being kept in Gaza will be held at a later stage.

A spokesman of Hamas’s military unit, who is known by his nom de guerre Abu Obeida, said on Sunday that the only way for the group to release Israeli captives alive is for the Israelis and their supporters to accept its conditions, including the release of Palestinian abductees.

“Neither the fascist enemy and its arrogant leadership... nor its supporters... can take their prisoners alive without an exchange and negotiation and meeting the demands of the resistance,” Abu Obeida said.

Hamas launched the surprise Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying entity in response to the Israeli regime’s decades-long campaign of bloodletting and devastation against Palestinians. Since then Israel has begun an unprecedented bombing campaign of Gaza and targeted civilians in the Strip.

The Israeli aggression has so far killed at least 18,205 Palestinians, most of them women and children, and wounded 49,645 others.

Israel has also imposed a “complete siege” on the territory, cutting off fuel, electricity, food, and water to the more than two million Palestinians living there.

(Source: Agencies)

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