Terror group Hamas said no more hostages would be released until there is a “full cessation of aggression” by Israel as the United Nations Security Council appeared on the brink of agreeing a resolution on aid for Gaza.
Hamas slaughtered around 1,200 people in southern Israel on October 7 and took around 240 hostages.
In a statement, the terror group said: “There is a Palestinian national decision that there should be no talk about prisoners or exchange deals except after a full cessation of aggression.”
A report by a UN-backed body said the entire population of Gaza is facing crisis levels of hunger.
The risk of famine is increasing each day, the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification said.
UN Security Council diplomats delayed until Friday a vote on a resolution to increase humanitarian aid into Gaza and another round of talks took place in Egypt to try to get warring Israel and Hamas to agree on a new truce so hostages can be released.
The UN vote was delayed despite the United States saying it can now support an amended proposal that would demand that Israel and Hamas allow the use of “all available routes” for humanitarian deliveries.
However, the resolution does not call for a ceasefire, with America having previously opposed such wording.
Even as diplomatic efforts continued, fighting in the Gaza Strip intensified with Israeli bombardments in the north and south of the 25 mile-long Palestinian territory and Hamas firing rockets on Israel’s commercial capital Tel Aviv, officials said on Thursday.
Iraq’s Kataeb Hezbollah, which goes by the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, in a statement on Telegram claimed responsibility for an attack on Israel’s Eilat. There was no immediate comment from Israel.
Fourteen Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in three separate attacks on Thursday in northern, central and southern Gaza Strip, medics said.
Medics and Hamas media said the Hamas-appointed director of the police station in Khan Younis was killed along with members of his family in a strike on their house.
An Israeli air strike targeted the house of Dr. Munir Al-Bursh, the director of Gaza Health Ministry, medics said. Dr Bursh was wounded and one of his daughters was killed, the medics said.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was in Cairo for a second day of negotiations, however, which ended late on Thursday.
While mediating countries including Egypt and Qatar have previously met separately with Israel, Hamas and other groups, there were no details on who might be engaged with any Israeli party.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said negotiations on a hostage release were continuing but declined to provide details.