Hamas will not negotiate with Israel over hostages during conflict

Hamas will not engage in negotiations with Israel concerning the hostages it has captured until the ongoing conflict subsides, said Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of the Hamas political bureau.

He said: “We have informed all parties that contacted us regarding the enemy’s prisoners held by the resistance that this file will not be opened before the end of the battle.

“And it will only be at a price that the resistance will accept.”

The announcement came as Israeli warplanes continued their intense bombardment of the Gaza Strip, systematically reducing neighbourhoods to rubble.

The relentless airstrikes have left the region’s residents scrambling for safety within the tiny, sealed-off territory. Israel, vowing retaliation for the surprise weekend attack by Hamas, has declared that its response will have repercussions “for generations”.

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Amidst the chaos, humanitarian organisations issued desperate pleas for the establishment of humanitarian corridors to deliver aid into Gaza.

Hospitals, overwhelmed by the influx of wounded civilians, are rapidly depleting their supplies. The situation worsened as Israel cut off all access to essential resources, including food, fuel, and medicines. The sole remaining access point from Egypt was also shut down on Tuesday after airstrikes struck near the border crossing.

The conflict escalated when Hamas militants infiltrated Israel on Saturday, bringing gun battles to its streets for the first time in decades.

The conflict has already claimed the lives of at least 1,600 individuals on both sides, with the number likely to rise further. According to Israeli authorities, Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza are holding more than 150 soldiers and civilians hostage.

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As tensions escalate, Israel expanded its mobilisation of reservists to 360,000 on Tuesday, as reported by the country’s media outlets.

In the wake of days of intense fighting, Israel’s military announced on Tuesday morning that it had regained effective control over areas targeted by Hamas in the southern regions and along the Gaza border.

A looming question hangs over the region: will Israel launch a ground offensive into Gaza? The 40-kilometre-long (25-mile-long) strip of land, sandwiched between Israel, Egypt, and the Mediterranean Sea, is home to 2.3 million people and has been under Hamas’ governance since 2007.

The Israeli military revealed that it had targeted hundreds of sites overnight in Gaza City’s Rimal neighbourhood. This upscale district houses the ministries of the Hamas-run government, universities, media organisations, and the offices of aid organisations, all now subjected to the devastating impact of the ongoing conflict.

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