Netanyahu says no prisoner swap deal ‘as of now’ with Hamas

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said late Saturday that his government has yet not signed a prisoner swap deal with Hamas. "As of now, there is no deal," Netanyahu said at a news conference, dismissing reports about a possible agreement to free a portion or all of the hostages held by the Palestinian resistance group in Gaza. He said once a deal emerges, the Israeli public will be informed. There are about 240 hostages in Gaza, according to Israeli official estimates. The Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, said earlier that it is holding between 200 and 250 hostages, including Israeli soldiers and civilians, but later announced that several were killed in Israeli airstrikes across Gaza. Qatar is leading mediation efforts between Hamas and Israel. Israel has killed more than 12,300 Palestinians in its air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 surprise offensive by Hamas. The official Israeli death toll, meanwhile, stands at about 1,200. Israel has rejected growing cal ls for a cease-fire until the hostages are released. Source: EN - Anadolu Agency