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Israel's Netanyahu says hostage deal 'not without challenges'

November 23, 2023 at 8:02 pm

Posters calling on the government to return Israeli prisoners that have been captive in Gaza Strip by Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigades and criticizing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are displayed on streets in Tel Aviv, Israel on November 15, 2023. [Mostafa Alkharouf – Anadolu Agency]

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu cited, on Thursday, challenges in reaching a deal to free Israeli hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Anadolu Agency reports.

“We hope to get our hostages out — it’s not without its challenges, but we have to, we hope to get this first tranche out and then we’re committed to getting everyone out,” Netanyahu said during a meeting with UK Foreign Secretary, David Cameron.

Netanyahu added that Israel will then

continue with our war aims, namely to eradicate Hamas, because Hamas has already promised that they will do this again and again and again

Cameron, for his part, expressed hope that a humanitarian pause deal between Israel and Hamas would be an “opportunity to crucially get hostages out and get aid into Gaza”.

“I think it’s an opportunity to crucially get hostages out and to get aid into Gaza. There’s never an excuse for this sort of hostage taking. “All the hostages should be released,” Cameron said.

I hope everyone who’s responsible and behind this agreement can make it happen, to bring relief to those families, including, of course, there are British nationals who have been taken hostage. And so that, let’s hope that that can be delivered

Qatar, earlier on Thursday, said that a humanitarian pause deal between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip will start at 7 am local time (0500GMT) on Friday.

“The first group of civilian hostages will be swapped at around 4 pm on Friday,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Majed Al-Ansari told a news conference in Doha.

He said 50 hostages will be released in four days.

“The first group of hostages will include 13 women and children,” he added.

Israel estimates that at least 239 Israelis are being held by Hamas following the cross-border attack by the Palestinian group on 7 October.

Israel has launched relentless air and ground attacks in the Gaza Strip following the Hamas attack, killing more than 14,854 Palestinians, including 6,150 children and over 4,000 women, according to health authorities in the enclave.

The Israeli death toll, meanwhile, is around 1,200, according to official figures.

READ: Gaza humanitarian pause to start Friday, says Qatar