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Hamas says offered to hand over remains of hostage baby, family

Tan KW
Publish date: Sat, 02 Dec 2023, 07:14 AM
Tan KW
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JERUSALEM: Hamas on Friday said it had offered to hand over the bodies of a mother and her two sons - one of them a baby - in talks to extend a now-expired truce.

Shiri Bibas, her 10-month-old son Kfir and his four-year-old brother Ariel, along with their father Yarden, have become emblematic of the October 7 attacks due to the age of baby Kfir.

Earlier this week, Hamas's armed wing announced that Shiri, Kfir and Ariel had been killed in an Israeli bombing before the now-lapsed truce went into effect - a claim Israel's military has said it is investigating, but has yet to confirm.

Combat between Israel and Hamas resumed in the Gaza Strip Friday morning after an agreement could not be reached on prolonging the seven-day pause in fighting.

Under the terms of the temporary truce, Hamas had returned scores of Israeli hostages in exchange for the release of more than 200 Palestinian prisoners.

"Throughout the night, indirect negotiations unfolded to extend the truce," the group said in a statement Friday.

"Hamas also offered to transfer the Bibas family's bodies and release their father for their burial, along with two Zionist detainees," it added.

Israeli authorities "remained unresponsive", it said.

The Israeli prime minister's office meanwhile told AFP "Israel will not address propaganda-based reports coming from Hamas."

As of Thursday, reports of the deaths of the three Bibas family members remained unconfirmed, according to army spokesman Daniel Hagari.

The army has previously said "Hamas is wholly responsible for the security of all hostages."

Government spokesman Eylon Levy on Friday blamed Hamas for the collapse of the truce, accusing it of "having failed to provide a list of more hostages for release."

He said Hamas was still holding 137 hostages taken on October 7, including the Bibas family.

The family were among the roughly 240 hostages dragged back to Gaza after fighters streamed into Israel in an attack that left 1,200 people dead, most of them civilians, according to Israeli officials.

Israel's ensuing war against the group has killed more than 15,000 people, also mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run government in Gaza.


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