Hamas says submitted response to Gaza truce mediators, insists on permanent ceasefire

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Hamas said Saturday it had submitted its response to Egyptian and Qatari mediators on a proposed truce with Israel in the Gaza Strip, insisting on a “permanent ceasefire.”

Truce talks started on April 7 in Cairo but have so far brought no breakthrough on a plan presented by US, Qatari and Egyptian mediators.

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In a statement, the Palestinian militant group said it “reaffirms adherence to its demands” including “a permanent ceasefire, the withdrawal of the occupation army from the entire Gaza Strip, the return of the displaced to their areas and places of residence, intensification of the entry of relief and aid, and the start of reconstruction.”

Hamas said it was also ready “to conclude a serious and real prisoner exchange deal between the two parties.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has opposed a permanent ceasefire and vowed to send ground troops into Rafah, ignoring an international outcry against it, including from the United States.

Netanyahu’s office said Saturday “the only obstacle to obtaining the release of the abductees is Hamas and not any factor on the Israeli side.”

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“Among other things, Hamas demands an end to the war and a complete withdrawal of the [Israeli army] from the Gaza Strip.

“The cabinet and the security forces are united in their opposition to these unfounded demands.”

“Hamas to this day has refused any deal and any compromise proposal,” it said.

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