April 17, 2024

Brighton Journal

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News, hostage release and more

News, hostage release and more

Morning in Gaza. Here's what you need to know

Smoke rises during an Israeli raid in and around Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on Wednesday, March 20. (Credit: Dawud Abu Alqas/Reuters)

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Wednesday that negotiations to reach a ceasefire on the release of hostages held by Hamas are “closer” to reaching an agreement.

“We worked very hard with Qatar, Egypt and Israel to put a solid plan on the table. We did it; Hamas didn't accept it. They came back with other demands, other demands. The negotiators are working on that now,” Blinken said.

Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan said Israel's response to Hamas' latest counterproposal was “generally negative” and unresponsive to Hamas' demands.

A counter proposal presented last week included the release of 700 to 1,000 Palestinian prisoners held hostage by Israelis. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Hamas' proposal “unrealistic”.

Blinken, who is traveling through the Middle East countries, will visit Egypt today to meet Arab leaders and will go to Israel this Friday.

Here are some other key developments:

Raid the hospital: Israel's incursion into Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City lasted three days. A Gaza civil defense spokesman said civilians in the hospital were suffering from basic needs. The Israeli military said it had killed 90 “terrorists” and detained a senior Hamas official accused of killing three children in 2014. According to eyewitness accounts, Israeli forces shot dead people at the hospital and indiscriminately detained journalists and Palestinian health workers. and removed their underwear.

An Israeli court halted the government's plan– Israel's Supreme Court temporarily halted a government plan to send a group of Palestinian hospital patients and children back to Gaza following a CNN report. The decision follows a petition by an Israeli non-profit organization that decided to take action following the CNN report.

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Rafa evacuation plan: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his government would soon approve a plan to evacuate civilians from the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where some 1.5 million people have taken refuge. But he suggested that a planned military attack against the city was not imminent.

Canada freezes arms exports to Israel: Canada has “not approved new arms export permits to Israel” since January 8, “and will continue to do so until we ensure full compliance with our export regime.” CNN previously reported that Canada halted exports of dangerous military technology and materials to Israel in January due to the risk that the materials could be used in connection with human rights abuses.

Netanyahu addresses Senate Republicans: Israel's prime minister addressed the Senate Republican Party political luncheon Wednesday by video for 15 minutes, then answered questions for about 45 minutes, Sen. John Kennedy said. Netanyahu has been critical of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's comments calling for elections to form a new government in Israel, Kennedy said.