Tel Aviv, Jan 9 (IANS) An Israeli delegation has reached Cairo for negotiations on a possible deal for the release of hostages currently under Hamas captivity in Gaza.
Israeli government sources told IANS the arrival of the delegation to the Egyptian capital on Monday came amid growing pressure from the Jewish nation’s traditional allies — the US, UK, France and Germany — to end the ongoing war in the besieged enclave.
Within Israel as well, the demand for the release of the hostages is escalating by the day.
The negotiations between the two warring sides at the behest of Qatar, Egypt and the US, had been suspended after the assassination of Saleh al-Arouri — deputy head of Hamas’s political wing — in Beirut, a week ago.
Some 240 people, including foreign nationals, were kidnapped after the Hamas attacked southern Israel on October 7, 2023.
During the humanitarian pause from November 24-30, 2023, 86 Israeli and 24 foreign national hostages were released.
Before that, two American women and two elderly Israeli women were freed.
While one female soldier was rescued by the Israel Defense Forces( IDF), three hostages were killed in accidental firing by the military.
The IDF and Israel’s military Intelligence have confirmed that 23 hostages are already dead and about 136 of them remain in Gaza.
More than 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed in Israel, including 36 children.
According to the Israeli authorities, the vast majority of fatalities occurred on the day of the Hamas assault.