Hamas rejects 7-day truce in exchange for hostages
Fox News’ Trey Yingst shares details on the Israeli Defense Forces’ ground operation in Gaza as the Iron Dome intercepts rockets over Tel Aviv.
The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas reportedly issued a statement Thursday declaring that there will be no more discussions about releasing the hostages it is holding until Israel stops its military campaign in Gaza.
“There is a Palestinian national decision that there should be no talk about prisoners or exchange deals except after a full cessation of aggression,” the statement read, according to Ynetnews.
Separately, the deputy chairman of Hamas in Gaza, Khalil Al-Hayya, told Al Jazeera that “We want an end to the aggression, then we will go to reconstruction and construction, and then we will talk about the prisoners,” The Jerusalem Post reports.
Both statements have emerged as Fox News’ Trey Yingst reported this morning that Hamas is continuing to reject Israeli officers of a weeklong cease-fire in exchange for hostages. About 129 hostages are believed to remain in the Gaza Strip.
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An Israeli soldier stands next to military vehicles near the Gaza Strip border on Monday, Dec. 18. (Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)
On Wednesday, the leader of the Hamas terrorist organization, Ismail Haniyeh, headed to Egypt for talks about a potential cease-fire and hostage release deal with Israel, Reuters reported.
Haniyeh, who normally lives in Qatar, last visited Egypt in early November prior to the announcement of the first cease-fire of the war, which saw the release of more than 100 hostages from Hamas in exchange for Palestinian prisoners being held by Israel, according to Reuters.
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An Israeli mobile artillery unit fires a shell from southern Israel towards the Gaza Strip, in a position near the Israel-Gaza border on Thursday, Dec. 21. (AP/Ohad Zwigenberg)
A source told Reuters that the negotiations, which also are focusing on delivery of aid to Gaza, are intensive, and a breakthrough could be imminent.
However, one Palestinian official told Reuters that “Hamas’s stance remains they don’t have a desire for humanitarian pauses,” and “Hamas wants a complete end to the Israeli war on Gaza.”
An image released by the Israeli Defense Forces on Friday, Dec. 15, showing fighting unfolding in the Gaza Strip. (IDF)
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“Haniyeh and Hamas always appreciate the Egyptian effort,” that official also said. “He is in Cairo today to listen to whether Israel has made new proposals or whether Cairo has some too. It is early to speak of expectations.”
Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.
Greg Norman is a reporter at Fox News Digital.