Tel Aviv, Nov 16: The Hamas militant group has demanded the release of 194 Palestinians currently being held in Israeli prisons in exchange for Israeli hostages.
Sources in the Israeli Foreign Ministry, who are currently in mediating efforts in Qatar, told IANS that the Hamas's demand is especially for the women and childen langushing in Israeli jails on various charges.
But the Israeli government has not approved to any such demand, informed officials said. The Qatari mediators, according to the sources, have put forward a suggestion of releasing 50 hostages kidnapped from Israel on October 7. But the Israel side has not agreed to it.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the development, saying it was just rumours and that no discussions had taken place on a possible prisoner swap. He also said that if there was any such development, the govenment would directly inform the people.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant on Thursday said that the only way for the Hamas to release hostages that it captured following its massive assault on October 7, is to exert more military pressure on the terrorist group.
According to Israeli authorities, 238 people are being held captive in Gaza, including Israelis and foreign nationals. Some media reports have claimed about 30 of the hostages are children.
Since the war began, Hamas has released four civilian hostages, while a female soldier was rescued by the Israeli forces. On Tuesday, Israeli sources confirmed that a soldier captured by the Hamas had been killed.
The terrorist group claimed that she was among of 57 hostages killed in the ongoing Israeli airstrikes in Gaza.