Sun, 10 Dec 2023

JERUSALEM -- An Israeli official said on Monday that progress has been made in the Qatar-mediated talks aimed at freeing some of the 240 hostages held by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.

According to Israel's state-owned Kan TV news, the proposed deal includes the release of about 50 women and children, who would be released in several stages. In exchange, Palestinian women and minors currently held in Israeli prisons would be released, in addition to a few-day pause in the relentless Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip.

The government official, speaking to Xinhua on condition of anonymity, said that talks resumed on Sunday after a brief hiatus during which Hamas refused to negotiate, citing Israeli raids on Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza's largest medical center. (Israel-Gaza-Hostage Deal)

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CAIRO -- Egypt received on Monday 28 premature babies from Al-Shifa, Gaza's largest hospital, via Rafah crossing, the only crossing point between the besieged Gaza Strip and Egypt, the Egyptian AlQahera News TV reported.

Sixteen babies were transferred to El Arish General Hospital in North Sinai province, while the rest were en route to hospitals in Cairo, the report added. (Egypt-Gaza-Baby)

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GAZA -- At least 1.7 million people have been displaced within the Gaza Strip due to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict that erupted on Oct. 7, the United Nations (UN) said on Monday.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs noted the continuous call by the Israeli army for the residents in Gaza City and its northern areas to evacuate and move southwards through a corridor along Salah al-Din Road, the main north-south traffic artery running the length of Gaza. (Gaza-Displaced-Conflict)

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BAGHDAD -- Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia' al-Sudani rejected on Monday the resignation of three government ministers backed by ousted Iraqi parliament speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi.

A statement by the prime minister's media office said that al-Sudani "rejected the resignations of the ministers of planning, industry, and culture, and accordingly, they will resume their executive duties." (Iraq-Minister-Resignation)

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