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Hope for Israel-Hamas ceasefire, but no relief yet for Gaza displaced people or families of Israeli hostages

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The death toll from strangulation in the Gaza Strip is nearly 13,000 people — and rising rapidly, according to officials in the Hamas-run Palestinian territory. Situation of more than 20 lakh stranded citizens critical Calls for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war in the enclave are growing, and representatives have been working around the clock for weeks toward an agreement during complex talks in Qatar.

Israel launched its massive offensive against Hamas in Gaza in response to the October 7 terrorist attack, which killed about 1,200 people and took about 240 hostages by the militants.

Senior Hamas representatives and Western officials, including President Biden Said agreement is closeA temporary ceasefire of about five days is expected in exchange for Hamas releasing some hostages and Israel releasing some of the hundreds of Palestinians held in its prisons.

Latest on Israel-Hamas hostage release talks


However, several draft agreements to stop the fighting failed at the last minute, so there was no guarantee on Tuesday of any imminent relief for thousands of families displaced from their homes in Gaza, who now live in squalid conditions. War zones, nor for the dozens of Israeli families desperate to get their abducted loved ones back.

CBS News producer Marwan al-Ghol meets displaced Palestinian families as they huddle in what little shelter they can find in southern Gaza, their children wet and shivering from the cold, covered only by tents Had happened.

“If they wanted to displace us from our homes and land, why didn’t they build camps for us?” A mother asked about a military campaign that Israel says is only targeting Hamas and other extremists.

“We haven’t eaten for three days, not even a piece of bread. We don’t even have water,” the woman told al-Ghol, as the rain lashed the tent, causing the tent and all surrounding The land was filled with dirty water. It has been raining for days, and the cold is getting worse, leaving countless families miserable and vulnerable as they wait for any news of a ceasefire that would at least enable humanitarian aid to reach Gaza.

APTOPIX Israel Palestinian
Palestinians displaced by Israeli bombing on the Gaza Strip seek shelter from the winter rain at a UN camp in the southern town of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, November 19, 2023.

Fatima Shabair/AP

Across the border in Israel, the families of about 240 hostages held by Hamas were also holding out for an agreement on Tuesday.

Children are believed to be among those held hostage by Hamas and possibly other groups in Gaza, and some of their families gathered in front of the United Nations office in Israel on Monday demanding that someone do something to rescue their children. Do. , With no certainty about any possible hostage release, they asked the government of Israel, the US, even the United Nations – anyone willing to listen – to bring their children home.

Hadas Calderon, whose mother was killed on October 7 and whose 12-year-old son Erez and 16-year-old daughter Sahar were captured, were at the demonstration, knowing that without an agreement every second could prove fatal.

She told CBS News that she received no information about her children’s fate because they were abducted by Hamas, which has long been designated a terrorist organization by Israel, the US and several other countries.

“I don’t have information,” Calderon said, adding that whatever information he and other families received “is not relevant, because every moment, it can be changed. One moment, you are alive. One moment. , You’re not here. It doesn’t matter.’

Hostage advocates rally outside the UNICEF office in Tel Aviv
Parents and relatives of children kidnapped on October 7, accompanied by supporters, take part in a demonstration to demand the return of their loved ones outside the UNICEF office in Tel Aviv, Israel, on World Children’s Day, November 20, 2023. By Hamas.

Alexey Rosenfeld/Getty

As Israeli airstrikes continue across Gaza and the whereabouts of hostages in the densely populated area remain unclear, the mother said she is “worried about everything”, from the spread of disease to casualties from the air amid the dire humanitarian situation on the ground. Till the bomb.

“They’re in the middle of a war. How did this happen?” He asked. “Of course, I don’t sleep. I don’t eat.”

He said that politicians involved in the ceasefire and hostage negotiations are “morally and politically obliged to bring them home as soon as possible… The government, the leaders have to sign on – to make a deal. Come on, make a deal!”

Heavy fighting reported near second Gaza hospital


While senior Hamas officials said that the terms of a ceasefire agreement had been agreed, there was no word from Israeli officials on whether the final agreement had been signed by the government, and there was no agreement between the warring parties. could also potentially derail a potential agreement. From events on the ground in the tinderbox area.

Iran-backed groups, including Hezbollah in Lebanon, just across Israel’s northern border, and the Houthi movement in Yemen have threatened for weeks to join the war. On Tuesday, Hezbollah-linked TV network al-Mayadeen said two of its journalists and a third civilian were killed in “a cowardly Israeli attack in south Lebanon.”

There were also reports that Israel attacked a civilian car in southern Lebanon, killing at least one other person.

In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces said its aircraft “identified and killed three armed terrorist cells in the area of ​​the border with Lebanon” on Tuesday, after “terrorists fired mortar shells at an IDF post in northern Israel.” Fire.”



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