Hamas said on Monday that the release of the hostages it was holding would require a guarantee of an end to Israel's offensive in Gaza and the withdrawal of all invading forces, reiterating its position after Israel held a meeting with Qatari mediators and Egypt.
“The success of the Paris meeting depends on the occupying power (Israel) agreeing to end the allout aggression in the Gaza Strip,” Sami Abu Zuhri, a senior Hamas official, told Portal.
It was not immediately clear whether Hamas would release all or some of the 132 hostages Israel says remain in the Gaza Strip if that condition is met. Hamas had previously said that a full release would require Israel to release all of the thousands of Palestinians held in its prisons for security reasons.
A Palestinian official involved in the mediation talks, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that for Hamas to sign a followup agreement to the November ceasefire in which it released dozens of hostages, Israel should agree to end the offensive and withdraw. of Gaza although implementation will not necessarily be immediate.
The deal would have to be approved by Qatar, Egypt and the United States, the official said. These countries sent highlevel delegates on Sunday to discuss the hostage crisis in the Gaza Strip with senior Israeli intelligence officials.
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