After Iran Attack Palestenians are Returning to Gaza and Hamas asks for Written Commitment of Israel Withdrawal

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GAZA CITY – The militant Hamas group has thrown a potential wrench into ceasefire talks, making a bold-faced demand that Israel provide a “clear written commitment” to withdraw its forces from the Gaza Strip before proceeding with the next phase of a longer-term truce deal.

In a defiant statement on Saturday, an unnamed Hamas official relayed the group’s terms to Reuters: “We confirm our readiness to reach a deal regarding a serious exchange of prisoners between the two sides,” he said. But first, the group wants cast-iron assurances of an Israeli pullout from the battered coastal enclave it has occupied since 2007.

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The ultimatum came as Hamas submitted its official response to a phased ceasefire proposal by Egyptian and Qatari mediators attempting to calm the latest deadly outburst of violence. Under the plan, a six-week temporary truce would be extended to allow negotiation of a comprehensive agreement to end fighting, secure Israel’s withdrawal, and restart talks on a prisoner swap that could see hundreds of Palestinian captives walk free.

According to an Egyptian official familiar with the talks, Hamas is demanding the whole packaged deal – withdrawal, a lasting truce, and the prisoner release – be implemented in stages. The official said mediators would pore over Hamas’ response before deciding whether to bring the sides back to the negotiating table in Cairo.

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Meanwhile, chaos erupted on the ground in Gaza on Saturday as hundreds of Palestinian families sought to jump the gun and return to their homes in the northernborder areas that saw the heaviest fighting with Israeli forces. Journalists confirmed video showing streams of civilians trying to flow up the coastal al-Rashid road before Israeli troops opened fire and blocked the route.

The unsanctioned exodus highlighted the precariousness of the situation on the ground as the 72-hour temporary truce entered its final stretch. Israel had previously declared the whole northern Gaza region a military “no-go zone” still too unstable for residents to return.

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With the clock ticking down and hardline positions staked out, the prospect of the ceasefire collapsing into renewed conflict loomed large. Hamas’ unbending position reflected deep distrust and resentments after years of a suffocating Israeli-led blockade and era-defining armed conflicts. Whether the militants’ brinkmanship would force Israeli concessions or provoke fresh bloodshed remained frighteningly uncertain.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a seasoned basketball journalist with a passion for the WNBA and NBA. His insightful writing combines commentary and stats, providing comprehensive coverage. Alee sheds light on the overlooked WNBA while championing its players. He also delivers in-depth NBA analysis, offering unique perspectives on trades, drafts, and league dynamics. With exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes access, Alee gives readers an unparalleled look into the lives of basketball's biggest stars.

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