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Report: Hamas leader stopped prisoner swap talks after Israel stormed Shifa hospital

November 17, 2023 at 1:12 pm

Yahya Sinwar, the head of Hamas in Gaza speaks during an iftar dinner of Hamas during holy month of Ramadan in Gaza City, Gaza on April 30, 2022 [Ali Jadallah – Anadolu Agency]

Leader of the Hamas movement in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, stopped contacts with mediators handling the file of Israeli prisoners of war being held in Gaza, after the Israeli occupation army stormed the Al-Shifa Medical Complex, Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported.

“This morning we can reveal that Sinwar simply disappeared from the Qatari mediators during the past 24 hours, claiming that as long as the Israeli army is working in… Al-Shifa Hospital, [Hamas] cannot negotiate with Israel, and therefore, no progress was made during this period of time,” the paper’s military analyst, Yossi Yehoshua, wrote, citing unnamed sources.

Yehoshua described the details of the prospective deal as a “tactical problem”, slamming Sinwar and his negotiation method as “a disgusting attempt to manipulate the Israeli society’s nerves”.

“At first, the talk was about releasing 100, then the number dropped to 80, and yesterday we only reached 50,” it said.

According to the report, in return, the Israeli army is expected to stop fighting for five days, “which is more than enough time for Hamas to catch its breath and regroup its ranks. As previous experiences have shown, stopping fighting while our forces are deep in the Gaza Strip, does not guarantee their security.”

Yehoshua criticised the details of the deal, saying: “If that was not enough, Sinwar has presented an incredible demand, which is to release the kidnapped persons in daily instalments.”

“In other words, Sinwar could, at his own will, release 10 persons per day, and at his own will, to stop releasing because he was not satisfied with something, knowing that the Israeli army would not rush to return to its operations,” he added.

READ: UN: Disease, hunger inevitable in Gaza