Israel will not agree to halt in Gaza fighting without hostage return, official says

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Israel will not agree to any halt in fighting in Gaza that is not part of a deal that includes a return of hostages, a senior Israeli security official said on Friday.

The comment came after a statement from Hamas declaring that it would be ready to reach an agreement including an exchange of hostages for Palestinian prisoners, as long as Israel stopped the fighting in Gaza.

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“There will be no truce, or any halt in fighting whatsoever, in Gaza which is not part-and-parcel of a hostage-release deal,” the official said in comments sent to Reuters. “Any ceasefire would arise solely within the framework of a deal.”

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