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Hamas rejects Israeli two-month cease-fire proposal, prisoner swap over demand for leadership’s end

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The Israeli government and Hamas leadership are at a stalemate as both claim to want a cease-fire to facilitate a prisoner swap but cannot agree to conditions.

Both Israeli and Hamas leaders have expressed a desire to pause ongoing violence to allow an exchange, but the finer points of an agreement are proving difficult to resolve.

Hamas has turned down Israeli offers for a long-term cease-fire, rejecting the Jewish state’s condition that top Hamas commanders leave the Gaza Strip for foreign exile.

U.S., Qatari and Egyptian mediators have sought to negotiate terms for a month-long cease-fire with a staggered exchange, beginning with civilians and eventually leading to the release of soldiers.

Hamas has largely refused to agree to any conditions that do not include plans for a permanent end to violence in the region.

‘We are engaging in serious discussions with both sides,’ said Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesman Majed Al Ansari during a press conference this week. ‘We have presented ideas to both sides. We are getting a constant stream of replies from both sides and that, in its own right, is a cause for optimism.’

An attack on Israel’s forces in the Gaza Strip on Monday left 21 soldiers dead, its military said Tuesday. The attack was the deadliest for Israeli troops since the Hamas-led massacre on Oct. 7 that triggered the war.

According to the Israeli military, reservists were preparing explosives to demolish two buildings in central Gaza when a militant fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a tank nearby. 

The blast from the rocket outside the buildings triggered the explosives inside them, causing both two-story buildings to collapse on the soldiers.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mourned the loss of the soldiers, saying Monday was ‘one of the hardest days’ since the war began.

Fox News Digital’s Lawrence Richard contributed to this report.

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