French medical charity Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) said on Tuesday that three doctors, including two of its own, were killed in a strike on the Al Awda Hospital in northern Gaza, saying it was “horrified” by the incident.
“MSF has regularly shared information about Al Awda hospital as a functioning hospital and the presence of its staff in Al Awda to warring parties,” it said in a statement. “GPS coordinates were also shared with Israeli authorities yesterday.”
After killing and terrorising many children, women and Doctors in Gaza, Israeli PM told reservists ‘I hope there will be good news soon’, of potential deal for release of some of those held by Hamas
Benjamin Netanyahu was meeting his most senior ministers on Tuesday evening amid strong indications his government was due to approve a deal for the release of some of the more than 240 mostly Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.
“We are making progress. I don’t think it’s worth saying too much, not at even this moment, but I hope there will be good news soon,” the Israeli prime minister, told reservists during a visit to an army base on Tuesday afternoon, but did not provide further details.
Netanyahu’s office said that “in light of developments in the matter of the release of our hostages” Israel’s war cabinet would be convened followed by meetings of his wider security cabinet and the full cabinet.
Israeli media reported that the deal would result in 50 hostages, all women or children, being freed in return for the return of 150 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, also all women or children. The deal would also result in a pause in hostilities for at least five days, restrictions on Israeli surveillance of Gaza and additional aid sent into the territory, the newspaper Haaretz said.
There was no confirmation of the reports but a source close to the negotiations who briefed Reuters outlined similar details. So did a senior Hamas official who spoke to Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based TV network.
Joe Biden on Tuesday also said a deal was close. “My team is in the region shuttling between capitals. We’re now very close, very close, to bringing some of these hostages home very soon. But I don’t want to get into the details because nothing is done until it’s done,” Biden told reporters.
Earlier in the day, Ismail Haniyeh, the most senior political leader of Hamas, said a truce agreement with Israel was near. “We are close to reaching a deal on a truce,” Haniyeh said, and the group had delivered its response to Qatari mediators.
Qatar, where Hamas has a political office, has been the main intermediary between Israel and Hamas, though Egypt and others have played a role.
The hostages were seized on 7 October when Hamas launched attacks into Israel that killed more than 1,200 people, mostly civilians, in their homes or at a dance party.
Observers have cautioned that public statements during such negotiations are often misleading and any potential deal could easily collapse. Analysts also point out that any deal agreed by the political leadership of Hamas overseas would have to be acceptable to political and military leaders in Gaza.
Any deal would be a significant propaganda coup for Hamas and a personal victory for Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas leader in Gaza, who spent 23 years in Israeli prisons before being released in an exchange in 2011. Sinwar tops Israel’s hitlist and his whereabouts is unknown, but his consent is essential for any agreement to be meaningful.
Netanyahu is under domestic pressure to get the hostages freed but any deal risks triggering a political crisis. Several far-right parties that are part of the ruling coalition on Tuesday evening called for the proposed deal to be rejected and the Israeli offensive in Gaza to be intensified to secure better terms.
More than 12,000 people have been killed in Gaza, according to Hamas-run health authorities, since the offensive was launched days after the 7 October attacks.
In a sign it was expecting hostages to return soon, Netanyahu’s office said it was convening the directors general of all the relevant government ministries to prepare for treatment and aid, in light of the latest developments.
Kamelia Hoter Ishay, the grandmother of 13-year-old Gali Tarshansky, who is believed to be being held in Gaza, said she was trying not to follow all the deal reports because she was afraid of being disappointed. “The only thing I am waiting for is the phone call from my daughter, Reuma, who will say: ‘Gali is coming back.’ And then I’ll know that it’s really over and I can breathe a sigh of relief and say that’s it, it’s over.”
Gali was kidnapped from her home in Be’eri kibbutz, one of the communities attacked by Hamas.
Not all of the hostages are being held by Hamas, with some in the hands of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a separate extremist faction, and criminals in Gaza, Israeli and other officials say.
Four of the hostages held by Hamas were released early in the conflict, while two have been found dead and one, a soldier, has been rescued.