Hamas leader says sons killed in Israeli strike were not fighters for the group

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Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh denies his sons that were killed in an Israeli strike this week were fighters for the group, and said “the interests of the Palestinian people are placed ahead of everything” when asked if their killing would impact talks.

“We are seeking to reach a deal but the occupation is still procrastinating and evading a response to the demands,” he told Reuters in a reference to the Gaza ceasefire and hostage exchange talks now underway.

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Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said on Thursday his Palestinian militant group was still seeking a deal for a ceasefire and hostage release after an Israeli strike killed three of his sons in an attack in Gaza.

Speaking in Qatar while receiving condolences, Haniyeh said “the interests of the Palestinian people are placed above everything” when asked if the strike would affect the talks on a truce and hostage release.

“We are seeking to reach a deal but the occupation is still procrastinating and evading a response to the demands,” he told Reuters.

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Israeli forces carried out Wednesday’s attack without authorization from top commanders or senior leaders, Israeli media said on Thursday, raising fears among families of hostages it would derail efforts to secure their release from Gaza.

“I can only hope this won’t affect the negotiation. I hope it won’t make Hamas put harder conditions on the deal,” said Ofri Bibas Levy, whose brother Yarden Bibas was taken captive with his wife and two small children during the Hamas-led attack on southern Israel on Oct. 7.

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