Prisoner swap talks only after war stops

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Foreign Desk

GAZA: As the US-backed Israeli genocidal war on the Gaza Strip entered day 76 on Thursday, massive aerial and artillery strikes continued to pound and level whole blocks and homes and massacre more civilians, mostly children and women.

Palestinian armed groups reject any talks about any prisoner and captive swaps until after the Israeli “aggression” on Gaza ends, according to a statement published by Hamas.

“There is a Palestinian national decision that there should be no talk about prisoners or exchange deals except after a full cessation of aggression,” read the statement.

The Israeli army has blown up the Palestine Mosque in the Remal neighbourhood in Gaza City, after stationing itself inside the building for a full month.

Footage published by the Israeli army shows a soldier walking over the rubble before stopping at the opening of an alleged tunnel.

“This tunnel had stairs and a lift,” the soldier says to the camera. “It was used exclusively by Hamas leaders.”

The armed wing of Hamas says its fighters have targeted Israeli soldiers in al-Mughraqa area, in the central Gaza Strip, with an anti-personnel missile.

The Qassam Brigades said the fighters engaged in an armed confrontation with the soldiers, killing and wounding them. One soldier was killed by a Qassam fighter on top of a tank, which was then targeted with a Tandem shell.

The armed wing also said that in cooperation with Saraya al-Quds – the military wing of the Islamic Jihad – an explosive device on a Merkava tank was detonated in the same area

The armed wing of Hamas says it fired the rocket barrage towards Tel Aviv that we reported on earlier.

The group said in a Telegram post the strikes were in response to the Israeli attacks against civilians in Gaza.

According to Israeli media, at least 35 rockets were intercepted and shot down by the Iron Dome system, and there were no known casualties as a result of the attack.

Meanwhile, Spanish premier Pedro Sanchez said that it is his country’s responsibility to assume the task of recognizing the State of Palestine during his term as president of the European Union (EU) before the current year ends.

“I call on the Europeans to speak clearly and with one voice about the brutal Israeli attacks on Gaza – not because the world is watching us or because history will judge us but because human beings are suffering,” Sanchez told the Spanish parliament on Wednesday.

“Young children of Gaza are suffering and losing their lives,” he highlighted.

Amid strong applause, Sanchez stressed the need for Spanish politicians and the European Union to seek out the recognition of a Palestinian state.

Sanchez also called for immediate action to curb Israel’s attacks on Gaza.

“Humanitarian aid must be able to reach people suffering from cold, hunger, and pain,” he said further.

For her part, Ione Belarra, head of Spain’s left-wing Podemos party and former social rights minister, urged Sanchez to use the term “genocide” when referring to Israel’s attacks on Gaza, stressing that “Israel poses a threat to democracy in the world.”