Israel finds body of hostage killed in Gaza as negotiators say talks will resume on ceasefire

The Israeli army announced on Saturday that it had recovered the body of a 47-year-old farmer who was being held hostage in Gaza, as negotiators prepare to begin another round of talks next Sunday. Brokering a ceasefire and to secure the release of the remaining hostages, Six months of war.

The Israeli military said it had found the body of Elad Katzir and believed he was killed in January by militants from Islamic Jihad, one of the groups that entered southern Israel in 2016. October 7 attack, More than 1,200 people were killed and about 250 were taken hostage. Katsir was kidnapped from the border town of Nir Oz, which suffered the heaviest losses.

This discovery renewed pressure on the Israeli government to reach an agreement to release the remaining hostages. Families have long feared time is running out. At least 36 hostages were confirmed dead in captivity. About half of the original number has been released.

Relatives and supporters of Israeli hostages held in Gaza since the October 7 march in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv, on April 6, 2024.

Jacques Guez/AFP via Getty Images

“He could have been saved if an agreement had been reached in time,” Katsir’s sister, Carmit, said in a statement read to the media. He added: “Our leadership is cowardly and driven by political considerations, and for this reason no agreement was reached.”

Israelis are divided on this approach Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu And his government. A week ago, tens of thousands of Israelis gathered in central Jerusalem in the largest anti-government protest since the war began.

Inside Gaza, the toll of the Israeli attack is measured in tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than a million Palestinians.

“We have reached a terrible stage,” United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator Martin Griffiths said in a statement marking the six-month anniversary, noting “the immediate possibility of a shameful man-made famine.” He described the possibility of further escalation in Gaza as “unreasonable.”

Ceasefire negotiations are scheduled to resume on Sunday, according to an Egyptian official and state-owned Cairo TV. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the talks.

US President Joe Biden sent CIA Director Bill Burns to Egypt. The movement said that a Hamas delegation will arrive on Sunday to participate in the talks.

Hamas insisted on linking the end of the war in stages – and not a temporary ceasefire – to any agreement to release the hostages. It said it would agree to release 40 hostages as part of an initial six-week ceasefire agreement that includes the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons. Hamas also seeks the return of the displaced to the devastated northern Gaza and to obtain more aid.

Israel has offered to allow only 2,000 displaced Palestinians – mostly women, children and the elderly – to head north daily during the six-week ceasefire.

The talks come days after international condemnation of Israeli air strikes that killed seven humanitarian workers at the World Central Kitchen charity. The Israeli army described the strike as a tragic mistake. Aid groups say this error is not unusual. The United Nations says at least 190 aid workers were killed in Gaza by the end of March.

The photo shared by World Central Kitchen shows the seven members of the food charity's staff who it says were killed in Israeli airstrikes on April 1, 2024 in the Gaza Strip, including Jacob Flickinger, 33, who holds dual US and Canadian citizenship, shown at top right. . The other WCK employees killed in the attack, which the Israeli military described as a “terrible mistake,” were Palestinian, British, Polish and Australian citizens.

World Central Kitchen

Some of Israel's allies are now considering halting arms sales. Biden warned Netanyahu that future US support for the war depends on quickly implementing new steps to protect civilians and aid workers.

“We need security guarantees for us as humanitarians, but also for the people we serve,” said Marika Guderian of the World Food Programme, speaking inside Gaza.

Delayed delivery of humanitarian aid

The killings halted the delivery of aid on an important new sea route to deliver humanitarian aid directly to Gaza, as the United Nations and its partners warned of “imminent famine” for about 1.1 million people, or half the population. The humanitarian organization Oxfam says people in northern Gaza live on an average of 245 calories a day.

In Jabalia, a refugee camp near Gaza City, families search through the rubble for molokhiya leaves to prepare a light broth for the daily Ramadan breakfast.

“Life has become miserable. They (the girls) say to me: 'Dad, you feed us molokhiya, molokhiya, molokhiya' every day. We want to eat fish, chicken and canned food. We crave eggs or anything else,” she said. Wael Al-Attar. They are staying in a school as part of the 1.7 million people displaced in Gaza.

Israel promised to open more border crossings into Gaza and increase the flow of aid. The United Nations says that in March, 85% of trucks carrying food aid were refused or impeded.

The Ministry of Health in the Strip said that the death toll in the war in Gaza reached 33,137. The death toll does not differentiate between civilians and combatants, but it said that women and children constitute the majority of the dead.

The ministry said that the bodies of 46 Palestinians killed in Israeli air strikes were transferred to hospitals during the past 24 hours, the lowest daily number of its kind in months.

Israel accused Hamas of responsibility for the killing of civilians in Gaza, and accused it of operating in residential communities and public areas such as hospitals.

The United Nations said it had finally gained access Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest hospital in Gaza After an Israeli raid that lasted for several days, it found what the head of the World Health Organization called “an empty shell with human graves,” with most of the buildings destroyed.

Palestinians react as they inspect damage to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on April 1, 2024 after Israeli forces withdrew from the hospital and surrounding area after a two-week operation amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Daoud Abu Al-Kass/Reuters

The city of Rafah, located in the far south of the Gaza Strip, now includes more than half of the Strip's population of 2.3 million people, and Israel's pledge to launch a ground attack there has sparked weeks of panic and warnings even from the United States, Israel's largest ally.

An Egyptian official on Friday described the recent Israeli proposal to evacuate civilians from Rafah as an “unrealistic and unimplementable plan.” Egypt once again threatened to suspend parts of the Camp David Accords that facilitate security cooperation.

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