US's Blinken says Hamas' response to cease-fire proposal 'creates space' for agreement

US's Blinken says Hamas' response to cease-fire proposal 'creates space' for agreement

'There are clear non-starters in Hamas' response,' Blinken says, but adds it still 'creates space for agreement'

By Iclal Turan

WASHINGTON (AA) — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that Hamas' response to a proposal for a cease-fire and hostage deal had some "clear non-starters" but creates "space for an agreement to be reached."

"While there are clear non-starters in Hamas' response, we do think it creates space for an agreement to be reached. And we will work at that relentlessly until we get there," Blinken told reporters during a press conference in Tel Aviv.

Blinken's remarks came shortly after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Hamas' demands for a hostage and cease-fire deal "delusional," and vowed to continue the devastating offensive in the Gaza Strip until achieving a "crushing victory" against the Gaza-based Palestinian group.

Earlier on Tuesday, Hamas said it had delivered its response to Egypt and Qatar regarding a "framework agreement" for a proposed prisoner swap deal and cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.

Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani said Tuesday that Doha had received Hamas' response to the deal, adding that it was "generally positive."

Hamas is believed to be holding around 136 Israelis.

Israel has launched a deadly offensive on Gaza following an Oct. 7 cross-border attack by Hamas, killing at least 27,585 Palestinians and injuring 66,978 others, while nearly 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas attack.

The Israeli offensive has left 85% of Gaza’s population internally displaced amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

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