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Hamas did not agree to draft for ceasefire before Rafah assault: US

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Shillong, May 8: The US government contradicted reports that Hamas had agreed to a proposal for a ceasefire in the Gaza war shortly before the Israeli army started a military operation in the city of Rafah.

“Hamas did not accept the ceasefire proposal. Hamas responded, and in their response, made several suggestions. It’s not the same as accepting,” said US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller in Washington.

Miller explained that the draft under discussion was an offer made at the end of April.

“That’s the offer that was on the table,” he said. “Hamas seemed to make clear… in their public statements that they accepted that offer yesterday. That is not what they did. They responded with amendments – call it a counter proposal if you want – and we’re working through the details of that now.”

The Israeli military on Tuesday said it had taken control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing in the south of the Gaza Strip overnight, in an operation the Israeli leadership has promised would be “limited.”

Rafah was the last city in the Gaza Strip that Israeli forces had not entered during its massive offensive, which began after the October 7 attacks on southern Israel, during which Hamas and other groups killed around 1,200 people and took around 200 hostages.

The more than 100 hostages, still in captivity, are believed to be held in Rafah.

Israel’s allies and other international leaders have been warning against a Rafah offensive. Large numbers of Palestinian civilians have sought shelter in the city after fleeing Israeli airstrikes and ground operations elsewhere in the Gaza Strip. (IANS)

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