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Israel reportedly hits Gaza safe zone as ceasefire discussions persist

A Hamas leader told Reuters their proposed amendments to the ceasefire deal were 'not significant'
A Palestinian woman in al-Zawaida, central Gaza, watches the smoke rise following an Israeli air strike on the south on 11 June, 2024 (Eyad Baba/AFP)
A Palestinian woman in al-Zawaida, central Gaza, watches the smoke rise following an Israeli air strike on the south on 11 June 2024 (Eyad Baba/AFP)

Israel has launched land, sea and air strikes on al-Mawasi, a designated safe zone in Gaza, according to Palestine’s Wafa news agency.

The Israeli army denied carrying out any strikes in the area where thousands of Palestinians are taking shelter.

Wafa also reported Israeli strikes on the western side of Rafah city, as well as attacks that killed five people in Nuseirat, central Gaza.

The developments come as Hamas is urging the US to pressure Israel to accept a permanent ceasefire, as Israel insists on continuing the war after all hostages are released.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had said on Wednesday that the Palestinian armed group made numerous amendments to the US-backed ceasefire plan, some of which he deemed unworkable.

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A senior Hamas leader told Reuters that the group’s proposed amendments to the deal are “not significant” and include the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip.

The leader said they demand three “interconnected and continuous phases” of ceasefire and a lifting of the blockade on Gaza, allowing free movement of people and goods in the enclave.

The group also demands it select a list of 100 Palestinian prisoners with long-term sentences to be released from Israeli jails, the leader added, a clause the deal currently excludes.

Finally, the Hamas leader said the group objected to “the restriction on the time period for the release of prisoners with high sentences to no more than 15 years remaining of their sentences,” according to Reuters.

“There are no significant amendments that, according to Hamas leadership, warrant objection,” he said.

Quoting officials familiar to the matter, the Times of Israel reports that another issue is Hamas seeking a guarantee from Israel that it would agree to a permanent ceasefire.

The report claims Hamas worries Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would only implement the first phase of the deal, which entails the release of the remaining female, sick, and elderly hostages over a six-week period, before finding a pretext to resume the fighting.

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