US says Israel on board with Gaza truce deal, ball in Hamas's court now

YB WEB DESK. Dated: 3/4/2024 10:57:56 AM

Washington, Mar 03 Israel has broadly accepted a ceasefire deal with Hamas, a senior US official said on Saturday, as the first American airdrops of humanitarian aid were carried out over warravaged Gaza. The framework agreement envisages a sixweek cessation of hostilities, which could begin immediately if the Palestinian militant group signs off on the release of the most vulnerable hostages it holds, the official told reporters on a call. The announcement came hours after US military cargo planes began airdropping humanitarian aid into the besieged Gaza Strip.The United Nations has warned of famine in Gaza, and more than 100 people were left dead earlier this week in a frenzied scramble for food from a truck convoy delivering aid, with Israeli forces opening fire on the crowd. Saturday's drop, which included 38,000 meals, was conducted "to provide essential relief to civilians affected by the ongoing conflict," the US Central Command said. A CENTCOM official told AFP that the meals were made up of US military rations that did not contain pork, the consumption of which is prohibited by Islam.Negotiators from regional powers have been working around the clock to secure a Gaza truce by the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in about one week. "It will be a six-week ceasefire in Gaza starting today if Hamas agrees to release the defined category of vulnerable hostages... the sick, the wounded, elderly and women," the administration official said.


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