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Israel ready for temporary truce with Hamas – Netanyahu

Israel is willing to pause its military offensive in Gaza if Hamas releases all the surviving hostages kidnapped last October, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Sunday, while rejecting demands for a withdrawal of IDF forces. 

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“Israel will not agree to Hamas’s demands, which mean surrender, and will continue the fighting until all its goals are achieved”, the prime minister said.

During last year’s October 7 attack on Israeli territories near Gaza, Hamas militants killed some 1,200 people and took another 250 hostage. Since then, a number of the captives have been released but around 130 are still being held in the Palestinian enclave.

Last week, Israel officially sent Hamas a ceasefire proposal which suggests a temporary cessation of hostilities to facilitate an exchange of several dozen hostages for Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails.

The proposal has been described as “extraordinarily generous” by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has urged Hamas to “decide quickly” and “make the right decision.”

Hamas, meanwhile, has demanded a permanent ceasefire and the withdrawal of all Israeli troops from the besieged Palestinian enclave.

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