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What does Israel’s rescue of 4 captives, and the killing of 274 Palestinians, mean for truce talks? – The Mercury News


By TIA GOLDENBERG (Associated Press)

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Israel’s dramatic weekend rescue of four hostages from the Gaza Strip, in an operation that local health officials say killed 274 Palestinians, came at a sensitive time in the 8-month-old war, as Israel and Hamas weigh a U.S. proposal for a cease-fire and the release of the remaining captives.

Both sides face renewed pressure to make a deal: The complex rescue is unlikely to be replicated on a scale needed to bring back scores of remaining hostages, and it was a powerful reminder for Israelis that there are still surviving captives held in harsh conditions. Hamas, which has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United States, Canada and the European Union, now has four fewer bargaining chips.

But they could also dig in, as they repeatedly have over months of indirect negotiations mediated by the United States, Qatar and Egypt. Hamas is still insisting on an end to the war as part of any agreement, while Israel says it is still committed to destroying the group.

Here is a look at the fallout from the operation and how it might affect cease-fire talks:


The rescue operation was Israel’s most successful since the start of the war, bringing home four of the roughly 250 captives seized by Hamas in its Oct. 7 cross-border attack, including Noa Argamani, who became an icon of the struggle to free the hostages.

The raid also killed at least 274 Palestinians, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, deepening the suffering of people in Gaza who have had to endure the brutal war and a humanitarian catastrophe. The ministry does not distinguish between fighters and civilians in its tallies.

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