PIJ, other Gaza groups involved in response to Israeli truce proposal, Hamas says

PIJ, other Gaza groups involved in response to Israeli truce proposal, Hamas says
A Hamas leader said that other Palestinian groups in Gaza took part in formulating a position on proposals for a potential truce with Israel
2 min read
30 April, 2024
Israel's war on the Gaza Strip began almost seven months ago [AFP/Getty]

Islamic Jihad and other groups fighting Israeli forces in Gaza were involved in developing the Palestinian response to a truce proposal, a prominent Hamas leader has said.

The factions were able to share opinions on Israel's stance on an earlier submission made by Hamas concerning a ceasefire and hostage exchange deal in the devastated Palestinian enclave.

The Hamas official told The New Arab's Arabic-language edition Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that Hamas leaders in exile had sent the Israeli response to Gaza through secure channels.

The "resistance leadership in Gaza" studied the Israeli response and provided feedback to Hamas leaders abroad as part of preparing the final reply, the official said.

"Gaza's observations on the Israeli response did not come solely from Hamas leaders, but leaders of [other] factions fighting in the strip also participated, notably Islamic Jihad," he said.

The Hamas leader also addressed the long-threatened Israeli ground invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where more than half of the strip's 2.3 million population is sheltering.

He said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was "engaging in a clear deception operation" over the Rafah attack aimed at the Israeli public.

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The Hamas official said Netanyahu and Israeli military leaders say the operation seeks to eliminate the Palestinian group's remaining brigades and free hostages, alleging that the captives are all held in Rafah.

"If they possess this accurate information, then how have they been unable to reach Abu Ibrahim [Yahya Sinwar, Hamas's chief in Gaza] despite him going out recently and visiting areas of strip?" he added, saying this happened while reconnaissance and attack drones continuously buzzed in the sky.

The Hamas leader also said Israel had captured no more than 20 percent of the tunnel network used by fighters under Gaza.

This includes offensive tunnels used only once which fighters exploded as part of efforts to lure Israeli soldiers, he added.

Almost seven months of Israeli war on Gaza has killed at least 34,535 people, according to the enclave's health ministry.

A Hamas-led 7 October attack on southern Israel resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

The attack also saw some 250 hostages taken, and Israel estimates 129 hostages remain in Gaza, including 34 believed to be dead.

Agencies contributed to this report.