The chief of Hamas says the Palestinian militant group is near a truce agreement with Israel as the deadly assault on Gaza continues and rockets are fired into Israel.
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Hamas officials are "close to reaching a truce agreement" with Israel and the group has delivered its response to Qatari mediators, Ismail Haniyeh said in a statement sent to Reuters by his aide on Tuesday.
The statement gave no more details but a Hamas official told Al Jazeera TV negotiations were centred on how long the truce would last, arrangements for delivery of aid into Gaza and the exchange of Israeli hostages held by Hamas for Palestinian prisoners in Israel.
Over 1.5 million people have been displaced in â€” ICRC (@ICRC) #Gaza. After weeks of relentless bombardment, there is nowhere safe to go.Families & children are facing the winter ahead without basic water, heat, shelter. Itaf Abo Abdo spoke to us recently & shares more from Khan Younis ðŸ‘‡ pic.twitter.com/Gsf1HzVXX6November 20, 2023 The Red Cross is working to "advance humanitarian issues" in Gaza.
Both sides would free women and children and details would be announced by Qatar, which is mediating in the negotiations, the official, Issat el Reshiq, said.
Hamas took about 240 hostages during its October 7 rampage into Israel that killed 1200 people.
Mirjana Spoljaric, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), met Haniyeh in Qatar on Monday to "advance humanitarian issues" related to the conflict, the Geneva-based ICRC said in a statement.Â
She also met separately with Qatari authorities.
The ICRC said it was not part of negotiations aimed at releasing the hostages but as a neutral intermediary it was ready "to facilitate any future release that the parties agree to".
Talk of an imminent hostage deal has swirled for days.
Hamas says Israel's bombardment has killed some 13,300 Palestinians, including 5600 children.
Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Herzog said on Sunday he hoped for an agreement "in the coming days" while Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said the remaining sticking points were "very minor".
US President Joe Biden and other US officials said on Monday a deal was near.
Hamas' raid on October 7, the deadliest day in Israel's 75-year-old history, prompted Israel to invade the Palestinian territory to target Hamas.
Since then, Gaza's Hamas-run government said at least 13,300 Palestinians have been killed, including at least 5600 children and 3550 women, by unrelenting Israeli bombardment.
About two-thirds of Gaza's 2.3 million people have been made homeless, with thousands a day still trekking south on foot with belongings and children in their arms.Â
The central and southern parts of the enclave, where Israel has told them to go, have also regularly come under attack.
Hamas says it launched a barrage of missiles towards the Israeli city of Tel Aviv.
Hamas said on its Telegram account on Monday it had launched a barrage of missiles towards Tel Aviv and witnesses reported rockets being fired at central Israel.
Gaza health authorities said on Tuesday at least 20 Palestinians were killed in Israeli bombing of the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza at midnight.Â
There was no immediate comment from Israel.
The already crowded Nuseirat district, which grew out of a camp for Palestinian refugees from the 1948 Israeli-Arab war, is just south of the wetlands that bisect the strip and has been the first arrival point for huge numbers escaping the fighting further north.
.â€” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) @WHO is appalled by an attack on the Indonesian Hospital in #Gaza, reportedly resulting in 12 deaths, including patients, and tens of injuries, including critical and life-threatening ones. Health workers and civilians should never have to be exposed to such horror, andâ€¦November 20, 2023
Tens of thousands of civilians are believed to remain in the north despite an Israeli order to flee.Â
All hospitals there have ceased functioning normally, although many are still housing patients and displaced Gazans.Â
Israel says Hamas uses hospitals as shields for its fighters, which Hamas and the hospitals deny.
Gaza's health ministry said on Monday at least 12 Palestinians were killed and dozens wounded by firing into the Indonesian Hospital complex, which was encircled by Israeli tanks.
Israel says it shot back at fighters who opened fire from inside it.
Health officials said 700 patients along with staff were under Israeli fire and have denied any fighters were present.
World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was "appalled" by the attack.