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Possible pause in fighting in Gaza

The leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, and his delegation travelled to Cairo on Wednesday to meet with Egypt’s intelligence chief, Abbas Kamelabout for discussions that could lead to a new pause in fighting and a hostage exchange in Gaza.  

Haniyeh has confirmed that Hamas would discuss the war with Egyptian officials, without providing more details. Hamas and other militants are still holding an estimated 129 captives, Associated Press reports.

According to ADNKR the Israelis are considering an extended ceasefire, perhaps of two weeks, to allow Hamas to gather the hostages and hand them over.

Allegedly Israel has presented a plan to the mediators which could secure the release of some 30 to 40 hostages. It prioritises the women, as well as elderly men or those in need of urgent medical care. They could be exchanged for Palestinians who have been convicted of more serious offences and are held in Israel, BBC reports.

The first seven-day pause in fighting was also mediated by Egypt and Qatar and it led to the release of 100 hostages captured by Hamas in exchange for 240 Palestinians held in Israeli jails.

Risk of a cholera outbreak

Meanwhile, the city of Rafah in southern Gaza was hit again on Wednesday by air strikes, after at least 20 people were killed the day before when the city was also attacked.

Many of the displaced Palestinians are in Rafah which is close to the border with Egypt. Overcrowding in the already densely populated city has resulted in a critical situation for a series of reasons.

Rafah is overcrowded, without essentials and it is impossible to keep the hygiene standards. The risk of spreading diseases there is constantly growing, as is the risk of a cholera outbreak.  

The displaced people are in desperate need of food, clean water, shelter and fuel. Fuel is necessary for running generators used for the purification of water.

Humanitarian aid from Jordan

A convoy of 46 trucks carrying 750 tons of food from Jordan, entered Gaza on Wednesday. It is the first time that the trucks are not entering from the border with Egypt but through the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Gaza.

The operation was organised by the UN’s World Food Programme and the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization.  

Since the beginning of the conflict, which entered its third month, nearly 20,000 Palestinians have been killed. Around 1.9 million people, which is nearly 85% of the people of Gaza are displaced from their homes. 

By Sr Nina Benedikta Krapic

2023-12-21T21:53:34+00:00 December 21st, 2023|Categories: News|