Hamas’s armed wing said Friday there would be no compromise on the movement’s demand that Israel withdraw from Gaza to secure the release of hostages seized in the October 7 attack.

“Our top priority to reach a prisoner exchange deal is the complete commitment for the halt of aggression and an enemy withdrawal. There is no compromise on this,” Abu Obeida, spokesman for the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, said in a televised statement.

The statement came as hopes dimmed for a new truce in the five-month-old war between Israel and Hamas triggered by the Palestinian militants’ unprecedented attack on southern Israel on October 7.

Mediators had been scrambling to lock in a truce before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which is set to begin as early as Sunday depending on the lunar calendar.

On Thursday, Hamas’s delegation voiced dissatisfaction with Israeli responses to its demands and left the latest round of talks in Cairo for consultations with the movement’s leadership in Qatar.

Hamas has been demanding that Israel withdraw from Gaza, which Israel has refused to do.

Hamas seized about 250 hostages in the October 7 attack, some of whom were released during a week-long truce in November.

Israel believes 99 hostages remain alive in Gaza and that 31 have died.

Any new truce deal was expected to involve the exchange of some hostages for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

With AFP