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Hamas says prepared for 'immediate' prisoner swap, but Israel stalling

Palestinian resistance movement Hamas says it is prepared for an “immediate” exchange of prisoners with Israel, but the regime is stalling.

“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 [Israeli] captives held by the Palestinian resistance,” the group’s leader Yahya Sinwar said in a statement on Saturday.

“I call on the organizations and institutions working in the field of [swapping] the prisoners to consider themselves in permanent session, and to prepare lists of the names of male and female prisoners held by the occupation without exception in preparation for developments in the next stage,” Sinwar added.

On October 7, Hamas and its fellow Gaza Strip-based resistance groups captured around 250 Israeli soldiers and settlers during Operation al-Aqsa Storm, their biggest operation against the occupying entity in years.

Following the operation, Abu Ubaida, the spokesman for the military wing of Hamas, al-Qassam Brigades, said 200 of the captives were being held by the brigades, while the rest were kept by other Palestinian resistance factions.

Recently, the brigades announced that around 50 of the captives have been killed in the war that the Israeli regime launched against Gaza following the operation.

Sinwar’s statement came shortly after Abu Ubaida said, “Contacts have taken place regarding the prisoners’ issue and there is an opportunity to reach an agreement.” 

“The enemy is stalling,” he was quoted by the Palestinian Information Center as saying.

“The price to pay for the large number of enemy captives in our hands is to empty the [Israeli] prisons of all Palestinian prisoners,” Abu Ubaida added.

“If the enemy wants to end the captives file at once, we are ready,” he said, noting that the movement is also ready for any other path that the Israeli regime may take on the issue of its captives.

The Israeli war has so far killed over 8,000 Palestinians, including more than 3,000 children, with more than 20,500 wounded.

The United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a resolution on Friday, calling for the implementation of an immediate “humanitarian truce” in Gaza.

Israel has rejected all calls for a ceasefire, claiming it would benefit Hamas.

The vote at the General Assembly came after the United Nations Security Council failed four times in the past two weeks to take action due to the US’ recurrently casting its veto against relevant resolutions.

The assembly stressed the “importance of preventing further destabilization and escalation of violence in the region,” calling on “all parties to exercise maximum restraint and upon all those with influence on them to work toward this objective.”

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