Hamas chief in Gaza says ready for 'immediate' prisoner swap with Israel

AFP , Saturday 28 Oct 2023

Hamas's leader in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar, said Saturday that the Palestinian resistance group was ready for an "immediate" prisoner swap with Israel.

Yahya Sinwar
Yahya Sinwar, Hamas' leader in the Gaza Strip, said his group was ready for the "immediate" exchange of prisoners. Photo courtesy AA


"We are ready to conduct an immediate prisoner exchange deal that includes the release of all Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails in exchange for all prisoners held by the Palestinian resistance," Sinwar said in a statement.

In a statement carried by Al Jazeera, Sinwar called on all concerned authorities to prepare lists of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails - men and women - in preparation for the coming period.

The call comes as a source told Reuters earlier on Saturday that in-direct negotiations between Israel and Hamas under Qatari mediation are continuing but at a much slower pace than before.

The statement comes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the same day that the war in Gaza "will be difficult and we will not retreat and we will destroy Hamas."

"We will do all that we can to ensure the return of our hostages," he added. "Our goals are clear: free the hostages and destroy the capabilities of Hamas."

Israel is now 22 days into its bloody war against the Palestinians and has so far killed at least 7,700 people in near-constant bombardments on the Gaza Strip, including some 3,500 children, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

Hamas captured more than 220 Israelis during its attack on Israeli targets on 7 October.

Meanwhile, Israel holds more than 6,000 Palestinian political prisoners, including women and minors, in its jails - with many facing harsh prison conditions and torture.

It has stepped up its air campaign on Gaza, turning hundreds of buildings and thousands of houses into rubble.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk warned earlier on Saturday there was the potential for thousands more civilians to die if Israel presses a major ground offensive in Gaza.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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