Reuters: Hamas refused to surrender power in Gaza in exchange for peace plan

Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups, recognized as terrorist in the United States and the European Union, rejected Egypt’s offer to give up power in the Gaza Strip in exchange for a permanent ceasefire. This is reported by Reuters, citing sources in the Egyptian security services.

According to the agency’s interlocutors, Egypt, one of the mediators in the talks between Israelis and Palestinians, offered to hold elections, assuring Hamas that its members would not be persecuted or prosecuted. The group’s representatives at the Cairo talks rejected any concessions other than the extradition of those captured Oct. 7 in southern Israel in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, according to Reuters.

Jihadist representatives spoke to the agency and said they insist on more humanitarian aid for the entire population of Gaza.

In addition, Islamic Jihad, for its part, argues that the prisoner exchange should follow an “all-for-all” formula, meaning the release of all hostages held in Gaza for all Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.

According to the latest figures, the factions are holding about 130 people captured during the Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel.

Egypt’s Al-Sharq TV channel, citing sources, revealed some details of a plan to end the war that Israel and Hamas have been offered by Cairo.

The first stage involves a humanitarian truce for up to three weeks. During this time, the Palestinian group must release 40 Israeli captives of women, children and elderly men, while Israel must release 120 Palestinian prisoners of the same categories and send fuel and humanitarian aid to Gaza.

In the second phase, Gaza must form a Government to rebuild the Strip and begin preparations for general elections for the head of the Palestinian Authority.

The third stage includes a complete ceasefire, the release of all captured Israeli soldiers in exchange for a certain number of Palestinian prisoners. At this stage, the Israel Defense Forces should leave the sector and the refugees should return to their homes.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a speech in parliament that he visited the Gaza Strip on December 25. According to the Prime Minister, he met with the military and assured that Israel will continue the operation against Hamas until the group is destroyed. Netanyahu promised that the military action will be expanded.

Amid the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip, media reported an Israeli strike on a Damascus suburb that killed a high-ranking officer of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Sayed Mousavi. As Iran’s Tasnim news agency notes, he was an associate of Iranian General Qasem Suleimani, who was killed in a 2020 U.S. attack in Iraq.

The Guardian Corps has threatened to retaliate against Israel for the general’s death.

The Israeli side did not comment on a possible strike on the suburbs of the Syrian capital.

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