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War on Gaza: Hezbollah 'will halt attacks' on Israel if Hamas approves truce deal

Report says the Lebanese armed group will stop its operations 'immediately' if Israel and Hamas agree to an extended truce
Hezbollah fighters carry the coffin of Ali al-Debs, a commander killed in an Israeli air strike earlier in February (AFP/Mahmoud Zayyat)

The Lebanese armed movement Hezbollah will halt attacks on Israel if Hamas agrees to an extended truce, according to a report by Reuters.

Two sources told the news agency that the Iran-backed armed group would "immediately" end operations the "moment the truce is declared".

The statement echoes previous comments by Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah, who said his fighters would only stop their attacks when a ceasefire deal is reached in Gaza.

Hezbollah has been involved in a simmering conflict on Lebanon's southern border with Israel, which has yet to develop into full-scale conflict, despite casualties on both sides.

According to Reuters, 200 Hezbollah fighters have been killed by Israel since 7 October, as well as 50 Lebanese civilians. At least 12 Israeli soldiers and around six civilians have been killed.

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Fighters from the group have used advanced surface-to-surface missiles, as well as drones, to attack Israeli positions, while Israel has carried out air strikes deep inside Lebanese territory.

The two sides have been fighting since the 7 October attack by Hamas-led Palestinian fighters on military bases and civilian communities in southern Israel, which killed 1,140 people, the majority of them civilians.

Israel responded with an indiscriminate military campaign in Gaza, which has left swathes of the Palestinian territory uninhabitable and killed close to 30,000 people, the vast majority of them women and children.

Hamas dismisses deal rumours

Officials in the US, Israel's main supporter in the conflict, have said that a truce deal is imminent, but officials in Hamas have dismissed these reports as overblown.

The Palestinian armed group is reportedly studying the details of a draft truce, which would end the fighting for at least 40 days and see the release of some Israeli hostages, as well as the resumption of aid into the besieged territory.

Hamas says leaked proposals for a halt in fighting in Gaza do not meet its demands, after US President Joe Biden suggested that a ceasefire may be agreed in the next few days. 

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Speaking on NBC's Late Night with Seth Meyers on Monday, Biden said: "Ramadan is coming up, and there’s been an agreement by the Israelis that they would not engage in activities during Ramadan, as well, in order to give us time to get all the hostages out.

"My national security adviser tells me that they’re close. They’re close. They’re not done yet. My hope is by next Monday we’ll have a ceasefire."

Hamas officials suggested Biden's comments were premature, and that no such agreement had been reached. 

"The primary and main issues of the ceasefire and the withdrawal of Israeli forces are not clearly stated, which delays reaching an agreement," an unnamed official told Reuters. 

The leaked proposal, reported by Al Jazeera and Reuters, includes a temporary pause in fighting, a partial prisoner swap, a gradual and restricted return of displaced Palestinians to northern Gaza, the entry of 500 aid trucks, and the repair of hospitals and bakeries destroyed by Israel.

Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official, said that the leaked draft was being promoted for "propaganda" purposes. 

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