Publish date1 Apr 2024 - 9:09
Story Code : 630126

Thousands of Israelis gather in front of Knesset to demand captive swap deal with Hamas, early polls

Thousands of Israelis began gathering on Sunday in front of the parliament or Knesset building in Jerusalem to demand a captive swap deal with Hamas and early elections, an Israeli media outlet said.
Thousands of Israelis gather in front of Knesset to demand captive swap deal with Hamas, early polls

The Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported that thousands of Israelis from all over the country gathered in front of the Knesset building in Jerusalem to demand a hostage swap deal and early elections.
Opposition leader Yair Lapid  addressed the protesters, who have planned to set up hundreds of tents in front of the Knesset after the demonstration ends, to stage sit-ins every day until the end of the week, the daily said.
Israeli police raised their alert level in anticipation of the massive protest.
Meanwhile, Israeli broadcaster Channel 12 reported that police have deployed large forces near the Knesset to deal with any untoward incidents.
Earlier on Saturday evening, broadcaster Al-Qahera News reported, citing a security source, that "the resumption of cease-fire negotiations between Israel and Hamas is scheduled for Sunday in Cairo... amid joint Egyptian-Qatari efforts to make progress in the negotiations," without providing any further details.
Qatar, Egypt, and the US are trying to reach a hostage swap deal and a cease-fire in Gaza, as the first pause lasted only a week in late November last year, which resulted in limited aid entering the Gaza Strip, as well as exchanges of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners, mostly women and children detained in Israeli jails.
Tel Aviv currently holds at least 9,100 Palestinian prisoners in its jails, while there are an estimated 134 Israeli hostages in Gaza. Hamas has announced the death of 70 of them in random Israeli airstrikes.
Israel has waged a deadly military offensive on the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 cross-border attack by Hamas which killed some 1,200 people.
Nearly 32,800 Palestinians have since been killed and 75,300 others injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities. Israel has imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.
The Israeli war has pushed 85% of Gaza’s population into internal displacement 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.
Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which on Thursday asked Israel to do more to prevent famine in Gaza.
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