Israel-Hamas war: Hostage talks may resume after ‘mistake’ deaths


The latest developments from the Israel Hamas war.

‘Stop fighting and negotiate’ – families of hostages plead with Israeli government

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Families of hostages held in the Gaza Strip have urged the Israeli government to end the fighting and carry out negotiations for their release, more than two months after the start of the war with Hamas.

“We only recover dead bodies. We want you to stop the fighting and start negotiations, said Noam Perry, the daughter of an Israeli held in Gaza, who was one of a number of speakers at a gathering of hostage families in Tel Aviv.

Israel and Qatar could revive hostage release talks after captive deaths

Three Israeli hostages who were mistakenly shot by Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip had been waving a white flag and were shirtless when they were killed, an Israeli military official said on Saturday.

Anger over the mistaken killings is likely to increase pressure on the Israeli government to renew Qatar-mediated negotiations with Hamas over swapping more captives for Palestinians imprisoned in Israel. Hamas has conditioned further releases on Israel halting its punishing air and ground campaign in Gaza, now in its 11th week.

The account of how the hostages died also raised questions about the conduct of Israeli ground troops. Palestinians on several occasions reported that Israeli soldiers opened fire as civilians tried to flee to safety.

The military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to brief reporters in line with military regulations, said it was likely that the hostages had been abandoned by their militant captors or had escaped. The soldiers’ behavior was “against our rules of engagement,” the official said, and was being investigated at the highest level.

The victims are Yotam Haïm, a 28-year-old heavy metal drummer, Samer al-Talalqa, a 25-year-old Bedouin, and Alon Lulu Shamriz, 26, the Israeli army announced, specifying that the bodies had been repatriated to Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately regretted “an unbearable tragedy” which plunges “the entire State of Israel into mourning”, while in Washington the White House spoke of a “tragic error”.

Israel and Qatar will try to revive talks over the release of the remaining hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza, according to a new report.

The Wall Street Journal says David Barnea, the director of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency is to meet with Qatari prime minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Norway today.

Talks are set to involve discussions on how hostages could be released in return for a ceasefire and the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel, the WSJ says.

They reported, however, that the discussions will likely face “significant” roadblocks – not least disputes over the possible terms with Hamas.

As of Saturday, more than 100 hostages are still being held in Gaza.

The nation is mourning the death of the three hostages killed “by mistake” by its own soldiers in the Gaza Strip, where the army is increasing air raids despite pressure from its American ally for more restraint.

Three Israeli hostages who were said to have been “misidentified” as a “threat” were killed by soldiers operating in Shujaiya, in the northern Gaza Strip.

Shortly after the announcement, hostage families and supporters marched with photos of captives in front of the Israeli Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv to demand an immediate agreement for their release.

Hundreds of protesters marched alongside the families as they blocked main roads in the city and spilled red paint in the street – meant to symbolise the blood of hostages.

Protestors screamed “deal, now!” shouted for the release of all the hostages. The protests lasted for several hours.

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IDF to conduct four-hour ‘tactical pause’ in Rafah to allow aid in

The Israeli military – also known as the IDF – is set to conduct “tactical pauses” to allow for the replenishing of supplies in southern Gaza on Saturday.

That’s according to the Israeli office for Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).

In a post on X – formerly Twitter – COGAT said the said today’s “pause” would take place in the Tel al Sultan neighborhood in Rafah, between 10am and 2pm local time.

Previous such pauses have taken place in the Al Salam and Al Shabura neighbourhoods in Rafah on Wednesday and Thursday, according to posts on COGAT’s account on X.

Communications blackout and spiralling hunger compound misery in Gaza Strip

A prolonged communications blackout that severed telephone and internet connections compounded the misery Saturday in the besieged Gaza Strip, where a United Nations agency said hunger levels had spiralled in recent days.

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Internet and telephone lines went down on Thursday evening and were still inaccessible on Saturday morning, according to internet access advocacy group NetBlocks.org.

The situation is hampering aid deliveries and rescue efforts as Israel’s war against Gaza’s ruling militant group Hamas stretches into the 11th week.

The ongoing offensive has flattened much of northern Gaza and driven 85% of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million from their homes. Displaced people have squeezed into shelters mainly in the south in a spiralling humanitarian crisis.

The United States, Israel’s closest ally, has expressed unease over Israel’s failure to reduce civilian casualties and its plans for the future of Gaza, but the White House continues to offer wholehearted support with weapons shipments and diplomatic backing.

Palestinian media: ‘Dozens killed’ in Jabalia airstrikes

Palestinian media has announced that dozens of people have been killed by Israeli airstrikes in northern Gaza.

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The WAFA news agency said on Saturday that at least 14 Palestinians died after two houses in Jabalia city – some 4km north of Gaza city – were hit.

WAFA added that dozens more had died in a separate airstrike that hit another home in the area, while adding that a number of civilians were trapped under rubble.

It has not yet been possible to independently verify the reports but the claims come following Friday’s meeting between the US and Israel, where the US put pressure on Israel to scale down its war against Hamas in the near future.

Al Jazeera condemns Israel over journalist death

Dozens of journalists have attended the funeral of a cameraman for Al Jazeera.

Samer Abudaqa was killed and another colleague injured in an Israeli strike in the Gaza Strip on Friday, the Qatari-based channel reported.

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“It is with heavy hearts that we share the devastating news of the loss of our dedicated Al Jazeera cameraman, Samer Abudaqa,” Mohamed Moawad, an editor at the channel, wrote.

Al Jazeera previously reported that its Gaza bureau chief, Wael Dahdouh, and Abu Daqa, were injured at a school in Khan Younes “following what is believed to be an attack by Israeli drone”.

In a statement on their website, the broadcaster wrote: “Al Jazeera Media Network condemns in the strongest terms the Israeli drone attack on a Gaza school that resulted in the killing of cameraman Samer Abudaqa.”

“The Network holds Israel accountable for systematically targeting and killing Al Jazeera journalists and their families.”

AbuDaqa’s body was carried through the crowd to Khan Younis, before being buried in a hole dug by colleagues.

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“Working in the press is dangerous,” lamented the journalist’s mother, Oum Maher Abou Daqa, accusing Israel of targeting “journalists, particularly those who work for Al Jazeera.”

Asked by the AFP, the Israeli army assured that it never “deliberately targets journalists” and takes “all possible operational measures to protect civilians and journalists”.

Nevertheless, more than 60 journalists and media workers, mostly Gazans, have died since the start of the war between Hamas and Israel on 7 October, according to the Committee for the Protection of Journalists.



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