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With hostage talks deadlocked, fears grow for women left in Gaza

Negotiations over the remaining female hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip have reached an impasse.
Protesters lift placards and portraits during a demonstration in Tel Aviv on December 2, 2023, calling for the release of Israeli hostages held in Gaza since the October 7 attacks. Israel and Hamas brushed off international calls to renew an expired truce on December 2 as air strikes pounded militant targets in Gaza and Palestinian groups launched volleys of rockets.

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WASHINGTON — The more than 130 people who Israel says are still held in the Gaza Strip are about to reach a grim milestone: two months in captivity.  

Talks to free those abducted on Oct. 7 have stalled over Hamas’ refusal to release all of the remaining women, US and regional officials say. Mediators from Qatar and Egypt are trying to revive the shaky truce between Israel and the Palestinian militants, which, before its collapse on Friday, saw more than 100 Israeli and foreign hostages — most of them women and children — freed from the Hamas-run territory. 

“Let me be crystal clear: Hamas’ refusal to release the remaining young women is what broke this deal and ended the pause in the fighting,” President Joe Biden said at a fundraising event on Tuesday. “These women and everyone still being held hostage by Hamas need to be returned to their families immediately."

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