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Live updates | Hamas officials say it is possible to reach an agreement on the hostages soon

Senior Hamas officials said on Tuesday that an agreement could be reached soon in which the militant group releases hostages and Israel releases Palestinian prisoners.

Israel, the United States and Qatar, which mediates with Hamas, have been negotiating for weeks over the release of the hostages, which would be accompanied by a temporary ceasefire in Gaza and the entry of more humanitarian aid. Similar predictions about a hostage agreement in recent weeks have proven premature.

The Israeli army is expanding its operations in the northern Gaza Strip, where it clashed with Palestinian militants on Tuesday in the densely populated Jabalia refugee camp, the largest in the Strip.

The army said that forces were “preparing the battlefield” in the Jabalia area, north of Gaza City, and had killed dozens of activists in recent days. He added that the forces found three tunnel corridors in which the fighters were hiding and destroyed the missile launchers.

Details of the fighting could not be independently confirmed. An attack on a nearby hospital killed 12 people on Monday while Israeli troops and tanks clashed with gunmen outside its gates.

Israel says Hamas is using civilians and hospitals as human shields, while critics say the Israeli blockade is unrelenting Aerial bombardment It amounts to collective punishment of the Gaza Strip’s 2.3 million Palestinians after the Hamas escalation. October 7, rampage in southern Israel.

More than 12,700 Palestinians, two-thirds of them women and minorities, have been killed since the start of the war, according to Palestinian health authorities. Make no difference Among the dead among civilians and soldiers. About 4,000 people were reported missing.

About 1,200 people were killed in Israel, most of them during the October 7 attack, and about 240 people were captured by the militants.

currently:

– Israel reveals Indications of Hamas’ activity in healingBut the promised command center remains elusive

– AP Photos: Babies born prematurely in Gaza They were evacuated to Egypt

– The President of Cyprus says his country does as well We are ready to send aid to Gaza

— Ukrainians who fled their country to Israel find themselves Living with war again

– Find more AP coverage on https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war

Here’s what’s happening in the latest war between Israel and Hamas:

A Hamas official says that an agreement to release the hostages may be reached soon

BEIRUT – Israel, the United States and Qatar, which is mediating with Hamas, have been negotiating for weeks over the release of the hostages, which would be accompanied by a temporary ceasefire in Gaza and the entry of more humanitarian aid.

Hamas released four hostages, Israel rescued one, and the bodies of two were found near Shifa.

Izzat al-Rishq, a senior Hamas official, said on Tuesday that an agreement could be reached “in the coming hours” in which Hamas releases prisoners and Israel releases Palestinian prisoners. Hamas leader in exile, Ismail Haniyeh, said they were close to reaching an agreement, but similar predictions in recent weeks have proven premature.

The three-member Israeli war cabinet met Representatives of the hostages’ families Monday evening. A relative of one of the hostages said officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told the families that the government considered the release of the hostages and the defeat of Hamas “equally important.”

Udi Goren, whose cousin Tal Shimi is being held in Gaza, said it was “incredibly disappointing” for the families, with Israel saying it could take months to dismantle the militant group.

“We will not stop fighting until we bring the hostages home, destroy Hamas, and ensure there is no longer a threat from Gaza,” Netanyahu said on social media after the meeting.

Hamas militants and their allies took more than 240 hostage during their deadly October 7 attack on southern Israel that also killed about 1,200 people, most of them civilians.

The brother of the award-winning Palestinian poet says he was arrested by Israeli forces

TEL AVIV, Israel – The brother of an award-winning Palestinian poet in Gaza says he has been arrested by Israeli forces and that his whereabouts are unknown.

Musab Abu Toha has contributed articles to Western media since the beginning of the war between Israel and Hamas, painting a bleak picture of his own civilian losses from his personal experience. His brother, Hamza Abu Toha, previously posted on Twitter on Monday that Musab was arrested during his evacuation to southern Gaza, in implementation of Israeli military orders. Hamza said that his sister-in-law and children were allowed to continue south, but “the army arrested my brother.”

Musaab Abu Toha’s last post on X was on November 15, where he wrote, “Live. Thank you for your prayers.”

The Qalam Organization for Literature and Freedom of Expression expressed its concern about the arrest and demanded to know the whereabouts of Abu Taha and the reason for his arrest. The New Yorker magazine, to which Abu Toha contributed multiple articles, called for his safe return.

The Israeli army said it was studying these reports.

200 people evacuated from Gaza Hospital

GAZA CITY – About 200 people were evacuated from a northern Gaza hospital that was besieged by fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas militants on Monday.

Ashraf Al-Qudra, spokesman for the Hamas Ministry of Health, said that the injured who were evacuated from the Indonesian hospital were transferred to southern Gaza in a rescue effort coordinated by the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross. He added that many of the injured people who were evacuated were receiving treatment at Al-Nasr Hospital in Khan Yunis.

Al-Qudra said in an interview with Al Jazeera that between 400 and 500 other wounded were still in the Indonesian hospital.

The evacuations came after 12 people were killed when a shell fell on the second floor of the hospital, according to the Ministry of Health and a medical worker at the hospital. Both blamed Israel, which denied bombing the hospital, saying its forces responded by firing at militants who targeted them from inside the 3.5-acre complex.

The World Health Organization says most Gaza hospitals are no longer functioning

Geneva – The World Health Organization warned on Monday that health services in Gaza had suffered “catastrophic” damage, with most hospitals stopping work.

“We now have 1.7 million displaced people, so we have double or triple the population (in southern Gaza), and we are using a third of the hospital beds in less than a third of the available hospitals,” said Michael Ryan, Executive Director of the World Health Organization. The Health Emergency Program said at a UN press conference from Geneva.

He added: “Even if this ends tomorrow morning in terms of a ceasefire, we still have a big problem on our hands.”

Ryan said services in the province were already unable to provide care for the most complex medical cases – including care for most cancer patients and dialysis patients – and would likely be overwhelmed by about 5,500 births expected next month.

He said that the Israeli army’s plans to advance south would worsen health conditions further.

“The hospital situation – the situation of the primary health care system – in Gaza is catastrophic and the worst you can imagine (in) the north,” Ryan said.

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