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Hamas is “close to reaching a truce agreement” with Israel, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said in a statement posted on Telegram.
Haniyeh’s statement comes after Hamas had delivered a response to mediators in Qatar.
“The movement delivered its response to the brothers in Qatar and the mediators, and we are close to reaching a truce agreement,” Haniyeh said.
Haniyeh did not provide additional details about the potential agreement.
The Hamas statement supports similar assertions from the White House. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Monday that negotiators are “getting close to the end” on the release of hostages held by Hamas – but he declined to elaborate on the details of a potential deal.
“I know that everybody's interested in the numbers and who they're going to be. We're working that through literally in real time with both sides. So, I think it's better if I just don't speculate about what that pool is going to look like. Obviously, we are laser focused on the American citizens that we know are being held hostage and we want them out, all of them, everybody should be out now,” Kirby said.
In recent days, sources told CNN a possible deal to secure the release of some hostages and a temporary pause in fighting may be in sight, following weeks of negotiations between the United States, Israel and Hamas, mediated by Gulf state Qatar.
The number of civilians killed in Gaza has been “unparalleled and unprecedented” in comparison to any conflict since 2017, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said Monday.
“What is clear is that we have had in a few weeks thousands of children killed. So this is what matters. We are witnessing a killing of civilians that is unparalleled and unprecedented in any conflict since I am secretary-general, ” Guterres said during a news conference. Guterres took office in 2017.
When asked about his vision for when the war ends in Gaza, Guterres rejected the possibility of a UN protectorate in the Gaza Strip and called for a “multi-stakeholder approach” that would eventually lead to a two-state solution.
Meanwhile, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Monday that negotiators are “getting close to the end” on the release of hostages held by Hamas — but he declined to elaborate on the details of a potential deal.
Here are the latest developments:
- Gaza death toll: At least 12,700 Palestinians have been killed since October 7 as a result of Israeli attacks, according to figures from the Palestinian Ministry of Health in the West Bank, which draws its data from Hamas-run health authorities in the enclave. At least 5,350 of those killed were children, it said.
- Attack on Indonesian hospital in Gaza: Ophir Falk, foreign policy adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told CNN Israel’s firing into the Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza was proportional and “in complete compliance with international law.” Twelve people died after the attack, which Israel said was in response to firing from the hospital. Among the dead were patients and a member of medical staff, health authorities in the Hamas-run enclave said.
- Bunkers used by Hamas built by Israel, former prime minister says: Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak said Israel had built bunkers "decades ago" underneath Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. And, a kind of junction of several tunnels are part of this system, he told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
- 28 premature babies moved to Egypt: The World Health Organization said 28 out of 33 premature babies that were in Al-Shifa Hospital have been evacuated into Egypt. WHO’s Senior Emergency Officer Rob Holden said two of the 33 neonatal babies died over the weekend, and three other babies were reunited with their families.
- Doctors Without Borders caught in crossfire in Gaza: A Doctors Without Borders clinic in Gaza City came under fire on Monday during fierce street fighting, the medical charity said.
- Israel and Hezbollah exchange fire: The IDF and Hezbollah say they exchanged more fire across the Israel-Lebanon border on Monday, including Hezbollah's use of powerful Borkan missiles. Lebanon’s National News Agency said there have been 10 Hezbollah strikes on Israeli positions since midnight local time, and Israel carried out 15 individual strikes.
- 6 Americans serving in Israeli security forces have died: Six American citizens who were serving in the Israeli security forces have died in Israel and Gaza since October 7, State Department spokesperson Matt Miller said Monday. Four of the Americans serving with the IDF died in the Gaza Strip and a fifth was killed in northern Israel, the spokesperson said.
- Biden faces criticism over conflict: National Security Council spokesman John Kirby pushed back against protesters who are accusing Israel of committing genocide in Gaza, saying that while “yes” there are too many civilians dying in Gaza, Israel has a right to defend itself against “a genocidal terrorist threat.”
At least 50 journalists and media workers have been killed since the bloody conflict between Israel and Hamas broke out last month, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Monday night, in what has been the deadliest month for journalists since the press freedom group began tracking deaths in 1992.
The mounting toll marked a “grim milestone,” and far surpasses the 15 journalists who have been killed in Russia’s ongoing war on Ukraine, according to the organization.
On Saturday, five journalists were killed, marking the second deadliest day of the conflict, CPJ said. The deadliest day of the war was on October 7 — when Hamas launched its shocking terror attack on Israel — the organization said, when six journalists were killed.
CPJ said it verifies reports of journalists killed in the conflict from speaking to sources in the region and from media reports. It was unclear if all of the journalists killed were covering the conflict at the time of their deaths, CPJ said.
“CPJ emphasizes that journalists are civilians doing important work during times of crisis and must not be targeted by warring parties,” Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, said in a statement. “Journalists across the region are making great sacrifices to cover this heart-breaking conflict. Those in Gaza, in particular, have paid, and continue to pay, an unprecedented toll and face exponential threats. Many have lost colleagues, families, and media facilities, and have fled seeking safety when there is no safe haven or exit.”
The organization has published the names of the slain journalists along with the circumstances of their deaths on its website.
Ophir Falk, foreign policy adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said on Monday that Israel’s firing into the Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza was proportional and “in complete compliance with international law.”
“We are in complete compliance with international law, with proportionality, distinction and there is a clear military necessity to destroy Hamas, and that’s exactly what we’re doing,” Falk told CNN’s Alex Marquardt.
“In the course of destroying Hamas, which is what the IDF is doing right now, we are distinguishing, making a clear distinction between civilians and terrorists,” Falk added.
Twelve people died after Israeli tank fire hit the hospital, health authorities in the Hamas-run enclave said. Among the dead were patients and a member of medical staff, officials said.
Asked about whether Israel’s military actions in Gaza showed a lack of concern for civilians, Falk defended Israel's response, saying there is “no military on Earth that is more moral” than the Israel Defense Forces.
Mirjana Spoljaric, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), met with Ismail Haniyeh, political leader of Hamas, in Qatar on Monday, according to an ICRC statement.
The statement emphasized ICRC is not involved in any negotiations to free hostages in Gaza but was “ready to facilitate any future release that the parties to the conflict agree to” — something it has done twice already.
“The ICRC is insisting that our teams be allowed to visit the hostages to check on their welfare and deliver medications, and for the hostages to be able to communicate with their families,” the statement said. It added: “The ICRC cannot force its way in to where hostages are held, nor do we know their location.”
There were intense exchanges during a committee meeting in the Israeli parliament Monday as family members of some of the hostages held in Gaza clashed with National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and other far-right members of the government.
Ben-Gvir, a divisive figure in Israeli politics who wants Israel to annex the Palestinian territories, is promoting legislation that would see the death penalty handed down to terrorists.
Hostage family members, holding pictures of their loved ones, vented their frustrations. One of them, Gil Dickmann, whose cousin is being held in Gaza, repeatedly shouted: “Bring them home!”
“Maybe instead of talking about the dead, talk about the living. Stop talking about killing Arabs. Talk about saving Jews. This is your job!” shouted Hen Avigdori, whose wife and daughter were taken on October 7.
Already frustrated at the apparent lack of progress to free the hostages, the family members accused Ben-Gvir of endangering their loved ones further by putting the issue of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons back in the spotlight.
Family members worry that by suggesting that Israel might execute Palestinian prisoners, it could make Hamas less willing to release hostages or increase the likelihood of their mistreatment in Gaza.
Almog Cohen, a colleague of Ben-Gvir in the Jewish Power party, fired back at family members.
“You don’t have a monopoly on pain. We also buried more than 50 friends," Cohen said.
The meeting was held to discuss Ben-Gvir’s proposed legislation, which is making its way through parliament. It still has several stages to pass before it becomes law and could be withdrawn.
Later in Tel Aviv, a large group of other family members met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of the war cabinet at the defense ministry.
Udi Goren, one of the family members, left early because he felt there was no new information provided by the war cabinet.
He said he was very disappointed to hear the government was not prioritizing the release of the hostages above all else, including the mission to defeat Hamas.
Asked if he had heard any information about a possible release of hostages, Goren told CNN there was nothing new.
The number of civilians killed in Gaza has been “unparalleled and unprecedented” in comparison to any conflict since 2017, when United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres took office, he said Monday.
“What is clear is that we have had in a few weeks thousands of children killed. So this is what matters. We are witnessing a killing of civilians that is unparalleled and unprecedented in any conflict since I am secretary-general, ” Guterres said during a news conference.
When asked about his vision for the day-after in Gaza, Guterres rejected the possibility of a UN protectorate in the enclave, instead calling for a “multi-stakeholder approach” that will eventually lead to a two-state solution.
“Everybody needs to come together to make the conditions for a transition, allowing for the Palestinian Authority, a strengthened Palestinian Authority, to assume responsibility in Gaza,” he said.
A Palestinian writer and poet who had been contributing to The New Yorker and other publications with reflections on his life inside Gaza during the war has been detained by the Israeli military, according to his brother.
Mosab Abu Toha was taken into custody by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) “when he reached the checkpoint while leaving from the north to the south” of Gaza, his brother Hamza Abu Toha said in a Facebook post Monday.
“His wife and children entered the south, and the army arrested my brother Mosab,” Hamza Abu Toha wrote on Facebook. “We have no information about him. It is worth mentioning that the American embassy sent him and his family to travel through the Rafah crossing.”
The circumstances of Abu Toha’s arrest are unclear. CNN has reached out to the IDF for comment. A US State Department spokesman earlier said he didn’t have information to share on the situation.
An American Book Award winner and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for his debut poetry book, “Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear,” Mosab Abu Toha, 30, had written searingly about the Israeli airstrikes that have decimated Gaza since war broke out last month between Israel and Hamas.
In a New Yorker essay published on October 20, he described returning to his home in Beit Lahia, in northern Gaza, days after evacuating to Jabalia refugee camp, where he had stayed with relatives.
“On the main street leading to my house, I find the first of many shocking scenes. A shop where I used to take my children, to buy juice and biscuits, is in shambles. The freezer, which used to hold ice cream, is now filled with rubble. I smell explosives, and maybe flesh,” he wrote.