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Families Of Israeli Hostages Clash With Police Amid Failure To Reach Swap Deal

12.04.2024 04:27

Hamas demands end to offensive on Gaza for any hostage prisoner swap deal with Israel.

Relatives of Israeli hostages being held by the Palestinian group Hamas demonstrated outside the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv on Thursday, clashing with police.

The protesters blocked the road and disrupted traffic near the building, Israeli public broadcaster KAN reported.

Israeli police said in a statement that they cleared the protesters from the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv, where they were blocking traffic.

Four protesters were arrested for violating orders and endangering road users, police said.

The protest came amid anger among hostages' families over the government's failure to reach a prisoner swap agreement with Hamas.

A new round of indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas kicked off in Egypt on Sunday to reach an agreement for a cease-fire in Gaza and prisoner swap.

A Palestinian source familiar with the talks said Monday that a new proposal presented in Cairo recommended that a cease-fire plan be implemented in three stages, including the conditional return of Palestinians to northern Gaza.

Hamas is estimated to be holding more than 130 Israeli hostages, while Israel is holding more than 9,100 Palestinians in its jails.

Hamas demands an end to Israel's deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the territory for any hostage-prisoner swap deal with Tel Aviv.

A temporary deal last November saw the release of 81 Israelis and 24 foreigners in exchange for 240 Palestinians, including 71 women and 169 children.

Israel has waged a deadly military offensive against the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 cross-border attack by Hamas, which killed around 1,200 people.

More than 33,500 Palestinians have since been killed and nearly 76,000 injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

The Israeli war has pushed 85% of Gaza's population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which in January issued an interim ruling that ordered it to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza. -

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