Bharat Express

Hamas willing to swap all Israeli soldiers for all Palestinian prisoners

More than 1,000 Palestinians were swapped in 2011 for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit


In the midst of talk to extend a truce over Gaza, a top Hamas official stated on Wednesday that the Islamist movement is ready to free all the Israeli soldiers it is holding captive in exchange for all Palestinian prisoners captives detained in Israel.

Bassem Naim, a Hamas spokesperson and former Gaza health minister, said the group was in hard negotiations to extend a cease-fire that was set to conclude early Thursday after a six-day pause in fighting.

“We are ready to release all soldiers in exchange for all our prisoners”, Naim said at a press conference in Cape Town, South Africa, on a visit there.

In an extraordinary October 7 attack, Gaza’s Hamas group abducted over 240 hostages from southern Israel, killing approximately 1,200 people.

In response, Israel has pledged to destroy Hamas and has launched an air and ground campaign that the Hamas government claims has killed approximately 15,000 people, the majority of whom were civilians.

To the delight of their families, sixty Israeli hostages and 180 Palestinian detainees were released under the truce accord.

Soldiers who are not included in the exchange agreement are among the captives still held by Hamas, and the Islamist movement is likely to use them as a major bargaining point.

More than 1,000 Palestinians were swapped in 2011 for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who had been kidnapped by Hamas five years before.

According to activist groups, there are over 7,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails, many of whom are significantly more prominent than the youngsters and women who have been released thus far.

In October, Hamas asked that Israel release all Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the release of all hostages.

The fresh proposal came as efforts to extend the cease-fire increased, with a source close to Hamas suggesting the group was willing to extend the truce for another four days in exchange for the release of more Israeli hostages.

Naim went on to say, “We are trying with the mediators to negotiate a permanent ceasefire”.

Earlier, Israel’s army said it was looking into a report by Hamas’s armed wing that a 10-month-old baby captive, his four-year-old brother, and their mother were killed in Gaza.

“We have confirmed two to three weeks ago that 60 Israelis have been killed under Israeli bombardment and are still under the rubble”, Naim claimed.

“The woman and her two children are among them, I can confirm that”, Naim added.

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