Hamas halts Gaza hostage talks over Saleh al-Arouri assassination
The Palestinian movement asked for mediation efforts to stop, Palestinian and Israeli media reported, after Saleh al-Arouri, deputy head of Hamas' political bureau, was assassinated in an Israeli strike on the Beirut suburb of Dahiyeh on Tuesday.
Egypt suspended its mediation efforts after the assassination, with a visit by an Israeli delegation to Cairo to discuss a new hostage-prisoner exchange deal cut short, an Egyptian source familiar with the talks told The New Arab's Arabic-language sister site, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.
Arouri's assassination and its aftermath will likely deal a big blow to hopes of a new hostage-prisoner exchange deal being struck.
Israeli officials had said in recent days there was progress in discussions on a new round of hostage-prisoner exchanges.
Israeli leaders have been widely condemned for how they have managed the release of Israeli hostages, who were taken during Hamas' attack on Israel on 7 October.
In the months since they were taken captive, several hostages have been killed in the war on Gaza, some by Israeli forces.
A hostage-prisoner exchange deal reached at the end of November with the help of mediating states, including Egypt and Qatar, saw 78 Israeli hostages released in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners.
Israel has since struck Gaza with new fervour and has killed more than 22,000 people in the Palestinian territory since 7 October.
The Israeli military has struck the Israel-Lebanon border area with Hezbollah retaliating. Dozens of people have been injured and tens of thousands of others have been displaced by the fighting.
However, Israel had not launched an all-out war against Hezbollah, with allies, including the US, warning against it.
Israeli security officials have vowed to go after Hamas leaders abroad, including in Lebanon.