(FILE) An Israeli soldier covers his ears as an artillery unit fire shells near the Gaza border, southern Israel, 06 November 2023. EFE/EPA/NEIL HALL

Hamas says close to reaching truce deal with Israel

Jerusalem, Nov 21 (EFE).- The head of the political wing of the Islamist group Hamas said on Tuesday that they were close to reaching a truce agreement with Israel.

Ismail Haniyeh spoke of the possible truce in a statement on Telegram, a month and a half into the war with Israel that has left more than 14,500 people dead, most of them in the Gaza Strip.

Haniyeh, on exile in Qatar, said the movement had sent its response to its mediators and they were close to reaching an agreement.

Israel declared war on Hamas on Oct. 7, following an attack by the Islamist group that included the firing of rockets and the infiltration of some 3,000 militiamen who killed some 1,200 people and took more than 240 people hostage.

Since then, Israel’s air, naval and ground forces have attacked the Gaza Strip, where more than 13,300 people have already died, most of them children and women.

The death toll is expected to be higher given the more than 6,500 missing, who could be under the rubble.

In addition, tens of thousands of people have been wounded, and more than 1.7 million displaced people – equivalent to over two thirds of the total population of Gaza – who face serious humanitarian crises due to shortages of essential supplies.

In this context, international pressure for a ceasefire has increased, and last week the United Nations Security Council approved a resolution for pauses in the war and setting up humanitarian corridors in Gaza.

Israel, which has promised to end Hamas – whom it considers a terrorist group – has so far refused a ceasefire and even rejected the UN resolution.

However, pressure for a ceasefire has also increased from within Israel, especially by relatives of the hostages captured by Hamas, who are advocating a truce in exchange for their loved ones. EFE