G7 urges Hamas to accept Gaza ceasefire deal

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G7 leaders on Thursday called on Palestinian militant group Hamas to accept a roadmap towards a ceasefire in Gaza announced by US President Joe Biden in May.

The UN Security Council had supported the plan and “now it is important that everyone implements it,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said at the Group of Seven summit in Italy.

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“We therefore call on Hamas in particular to give the necessary consent so that this can now work,” he said.

Biden launched a new US effort late last month to secure a truce and hostage release.

However, the deal remains uncertain as Hamas officials have insisted that any ceasefire agreement must guarantee a permanent end to the war -- a demand Israel has firmly rejected.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who is hosting the summit, said she confirmed “the unanimous support for the US mediation proposal for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.”

The G7, which also includes Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the US, also called for “the release of all hostages, and for a significant increase in humanitarian assistance to the civilian population of Gaza,” she said.

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The Gaza war began after Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack on southern Israel which resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

The militants also seized 251 hostages. Of these, 116 remain in Gaza although the army says 41 are dead.

Israel’s retaliatory military offensive has left at least 37,232 people dead in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to the territory’s health ministry.

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