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Families of Hostages Held by Hamas Launch 4-Day March to Demand Their Freedom
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By Associated Press
Published 2 months ago on
February 29, 2024

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Four-day protest march on behalf of Israeli hostages will end in Jerusalem.

Israeli and Hamas officials downplay President Biden’s optimism about a cease-fire.

Nearly 30,000 Palestinians killed after almost five months of Israel’s war in Gaza.


The families of hostages held in Gaza and their supporters are launching a four-day march from southern Israel to Jerusalem to demand their loved ones be set free.

The march comes as negotiations are underway in Qatar to bring about a deal between Hamas and Israel that would lead to a cease-fire in exchange for the release of hostages. U.S. President Joe Biden has said such a deal was at hand but officials from Israel and Hamas were skeptical of his optimism.

Negotiators from the U.S., Egypt, and Qatar are working on a framework deal under which Hamas would free some of the dozens of hostages it holds in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners and a six-week halt in fighting. During the temporary pause, negotiations would continue over the release of the remaining hostages.

Humanitarian Catastrophe in Gaza

The war has unleashed a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and sparked global concern over the situation in Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost town along the border with Egypt, where 1.4 million Palestinians have sought safety from Israel’s daily bombardments.

Nearly 30,000 Palestinians have been killed after almost five months of Israel’s war in the Gaza Strip, according to the Health Ministry, which does not distinguish in its count between fighters and noncombatants. Israel says it has killed 10,000 militants, without providing evidence.

The war began after Hamas-led militants stormed across southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking about 250 others hostage.

Other Top Middle East Stories

— Israel and Hamas indicate no deal is imminent after Biden signals Gaza cease-fire could be close.

— A deal between Israel and Hamas appears to be taking shape. What would it look like?

— What would a new Palestinian government in the West Bank mean for the war in Gaza?

— U.S. sanctions Iranian deputy commander, Houthi member, and ships that transport Iranian oil.

— Qatar’s emir to discuss Gaza and hostages with Macron during a state visit to France.

— Find more of AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.

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