Israel Gaza war: Deal reached on aid to Gaza, including to hostageson January 16, 2024 at 9:38 pm

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Under the deal, brokered by Qatar and France, new aid is to reach both Gaza civilians and Israeli hostages.

Palestinians who fled from the northern Gaza Strip, sit outside their shelters in Deir Al Balah, southern Gaza Strip, 16 January 2024.Image source, EPA

Israel and Hamas have reached a deal to allow more humanitarian aid into war-ravaged Gaza, Qatari mediators say.

They say that under a deal brokered by Qatar and France, medicines will be given to hostages held by Hamas.

In return Israel will allow more basic supplies into Gaza. Conditions in the territory are dire after more than three months of Israeli bombardment.

Meanwhile the US says it is hopeful that further talks could lead to the release of more hostages.

The US Middle East envoy has been in Qatar to discuss the possibility of such a deal, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said on Tuesday.

The discussions were “very serious and intensive”, he added . “We are hopeful it will bear fruit and bear fruit soon.”

Earlier, Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesman Majed Al Ansari announced the agreement on aid.

Under the deal, the humanitarian supplies will leave the Qatari capital, Doha, for Egypt on Wednesday. It will then be taken to Gaza, to be delivered to civilians, while medicines are to reach Israeli captives.

More than 132 hostages are thought to be still held in Gaza.

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About 240 people were captured by Hamas in a series of raids in southern Israel on 7 October. Some 1,300 people, mainly civilians, were killed.

The attacks triggered Israel’s intense bombardment of Gaza, which has killed more than 24,000 people so far, most of them women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

Palestinian officials say that 85% of Gaza’s population has been displaced. While more aid is now getting into Gaza the UN’s humanitarian chief has described the situation as “intolerable”.

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