Israeli prez floats new truce plan to recover hostages as Hamas rules out talks during war

Gaza death toll rises to 19,667

Israel Hamas hostage situation Palestinians search for bodies and survivors in the rubble of a residential building destroyed in an Israeli airstrike, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip | AP

As Qatar is still working on new truce to bring back the remaining hostages, Hamas has rejected holding negotiations over exchanging prisoners during the war. While Hamas has said that they are open to any initiative to end the conflict.

Israel still believes there are around 170 hostages still held by Hamas in Gaza.

“We affirm our position of categorically rejecting to hold any form of negotiations over prisoners exchange under the continuing Israeli genocidal war,” Basem Naem, a senior official from the Palestinian movement said in a statement.

“We are, however, open to any initiative that contributes to ending the aggression on our people and opening the crossings to bring in aid and provide relief to the Palestinian people," he added.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis has said Israelis and Palestinians face "pain and mourning" over the Christmas period as the war in Gaza continues.

"For the inhabitants of the Holy Land, a #Christmas of pain and mourning looms. We do not want to leave them alone. May we stand by them in prayer and tangible aid. The suffering of Bethlehem is an open wound for the Middle East and the entire world," Pope wrote on X.

Reportedly, the Israeli president Isaac Herzog, signalled readiness on the part of the country to enter another foreign-mediated Gaza truce to recover hostages held by Hamas. “Israel is ready for another humanitarian pause and additional humanitarian aid in order to enable the release of hostages,” said Herzog.

Meanwhile, regarding the situation of the hospitals in Gaza, UN officials have expressed anger and disbelief. UN pointed out that lack of supplies to treat injured people and targeting children recovering from amputations among others are unacceptable.

Israeli strikes killed at least 28 Palestinians in southern Gaza and troops raided one of the last functioning hospitals in the north as the country pressed ahead with its offensive against Hamas on Tuesday with renewed backing from the US, despite rising international alarm. 

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