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Israel sends delegation to negotiate hostage release deal with Hamas

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By Nidal al-Mughrabi, Mohammad Salem and Maayan Lubell

CAIRO/GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday he has decided to send a delegation to resume stalled negotiations on a hostage release deal with Hamas, their administrations said.

In a phone call between the two leaders, Netanyahu repeated his position that Israel would only end its nearly nine-month war in Gaza when all its objectives had been achieved, his office said in a statement.

Israel’s Channel 12 said the head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency would lead the Israeli delegation for the talks, though this was not immediately confirmed.

Netanyahu is scheduled later on Thursday to have consultations with his negotiating team, then discuss the hostage release talks with his security cabinet.

The White House said the two leaders discussed the recent response received from Hamas.

“The president welcomed the prime minister’s decision to authorize his negotiators to engage with U.S., Qatari, and Egyptian mediators in an effort to close out the deal,” it said in a statement.

It was not clear where the Israeli delegation would go to resume the talks. Prior efforts to end the Gaza conflict were mediated by Egypt and Qatar, with talks held in both locations.

Israel received Hamas’ response on Wednesday to a proposal made public at the end of May by Biden that would include the release of about 120 hostages held in Gaza and a ceasefire in the Palestinian enclave.

A Palestinian official close to the mediation effort told Reuters that Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, has shown flexibility over some clauses that would allow a framework agreement to be reached should Israel approve.

Two Hamas officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Hamas has said any deal must end the war and bring a full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. Israel maintains it will accept only temporary pauses in the fighting until Hamas is eradicated.

The plan entails the gradual release of Israeli hostages still being held in Gaza and the pullback of Israeli forces over the first two phases, and the freeing of Palestinian prisoners. The third phase involves the reconstruction of the war-shattered territory and return of the remains of deceased hostages.

‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH’

In Gaza, Palestinians reacted cautiously ahead of Israel’s response.

“We hope that this is the end of the war, we are exhausted and we can’t stand more setbacks and disappointments,” said Youssef, a father-of-two, now displaced in Khan Younis, in the south of the enclave.

“Every more hour into this war, more people die, and more houses get destroyed, so enough is enough. I say this to my leaders, to Israel and the world,” he told Reuters via a chat app.

On Thursday, Gaza’s health ministry said the Palestinian death toll in the nearly nine months of war had passed 38,000, with 87,445 wounded. The health ministry does not distinguish between civilians and fighters in its figures.

The war in Gaza began when Hamas-led gunmen burst into southern Israel on Oct. 7, killed 1,200 people and took around 250 hostages back into Gaza, according to Israeli tallies.

An Israeli strike hit a school in Gaza City and the Civil Emergency Service said five Palestinians were killed and others wounded, while other Israeli strikes on Gaza City’s old town on Thursday killed a woman and wounded several others, medics said.

The Israeli military said it had been operating to dismantle Hamas’ military and administrative capabilities. It said it was acting in accordance with international law and taking feasible precautions to minimise civilian casualties.

Israeli tanks also shelled several areas on the eastern side of Khan Younis after the army issued evacuation orders on Tuesday, but there has been no movement by the tanks into those areas, residents said.

SEEKING SHELTER

On Thursday, many Palestinians were still seeking shelter following the evacuation orders, which also included the border city of Rafah and which the United Nations said was the largest such edict since 1.1 million people were told to leave the north of the enclave in October.

Khan Younis residents said many families slept on the road because they could not find tents.

Israeli planes and tanks bombed several areas in the northern Gaza areas of Shejaia, Sabra, Daraj and Tuffah, killing several Palestinians, including children, and wounding others, health officials said.

The Israeli military said its troops and aircraft killed dozens of militants in those areas and in Rafah, in southern Gaza, which Israel has described as Hamas’ last stronghold.

Israel’s leaders have said they are winding down the phase of intense fighting against Hamas and would soon move to more targeted operations.

However, after months of conflict Hamas still claims to have munitions to fight back. On Thursday, Hamas’ armed wing said it had targeted the Israeli operations command headquarters east of Gaza City with missiles.

The group also claimed that its militants were able to fire a Soviet-built anti-aircraft missile towards an Apache helicopter in the sky over the Shejaia neighbourhood, east of Gaza City, without saying if it had been hit.

Israel did not comment on the claims.

© Reuters. Smoke rises above the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights July 4, 2024. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

The war has created a humanitarian crisis and destroyed the majority of the enclave’s medical facilities.

On Thursday, the Gaza health ministry said generators at the Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis, the only main hospital still functioning, would run out of fuel within hours and appealed to international humanitarian organisations for help to secure fresh supplies.

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Citi maintains Neutral on Terex shares, cites ESG business purchase

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On Monday, Terex Corporation (NYSE:) maintained its Neutral rating with a steady stock price target of $60.00, as announced by Citi. Terex disclosed it has signed an agreement to purchase Dover’s Environmental Solutions Group (ESG) business, which includes refuse vehicles and compaction equipment.

The deal is valued at $2 billion in gross terms, with a net purchase price of approximately $1.725 billion after accounting for the present value of roughly $275 million in tax benefits.

The net purchase price is approximately 9.6 times ESG’s projected 2024 EBITDA, with the multiple decreasing to around 8.4 times after factoring in the expected synergies of about $25 million. Terex anticipates the acquisition will be accretive to its adjusted earnings per share (EPS) by double digits in 2025. The acquisition is seen as beneficial, enhancing Terex’s business narrative and providing clear cost and revenue synergies.

Despite the premium paid over Terex’s current enterprise value to EBITDA multiple, the acquisition is considered potentially advantageous for Terex.

Success hinges on the company’s ability to realize the targeted synergies, the promised accretion to EPS, and ESG’s ability to deliver the forecasted mid-single-digit long-term compound annual growth rate (CAGR) with minimal business cyclicality. The transaction is slated for completion in the fourth quarter of 2024.

In other recent news, Terex Corporation has acquired Environmental Solutions Group (ESG) from Dover Corporation (NYSE:) in a deal valued at $2.0 billion, expanding its market reach. The acquisition, expected to close in the second half of 2024, will enhance Terex’s position in the waste and recycling sector. ESG’s integration will create a new Environmental Solutions segment within Terex, combining it with Terex’s existing Utilities business.

In other developments, Dover Corporation’s first-quarter earnings exceeded analyst estimates, with an adjusted EPS of $1.95, surpassing the expected $1.87. Revenue for the quarter also surpassed expectations, reaching $2.09 billion against the consensus estimate of $2.04 billion.

In analyst notes, Mizuho Securities has revised its outlook on Dover, raising its price target to $185 from the previous $180. The firm also revised its earnings per share estimates for Dover for 2024 and 2025, increasing them to $9.10 and $9.75, respectively. These recent developments indicate a positive outlook for Dover’s financial future.

This article was generated with the support of AI and reviewed by an editor. For more information see our T&C.

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Israeli parliament votes to label UN relief agency a terror organisation

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The Israeli parliament gave preliminary approval on Monday to a bill that declares the main United Nations relief organization for Palestinians a terrorist organisation and proposes to sever relations with the body.

The vote against the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) is the latest step in a Israeli push against the agency, which Israeli leaders have accused of collaborating with the Islamist movement Hamas in Gaza.

The bill was approved in a first reading and will be returned to the foreign affairs and defence committee for further deliberation, the Knesset information service said.

The bill’s sponsor, Yulia Malinovsky, was quoted as describing UNRWA as a “fifth column within Israel”.

UNRWA provides education, health and aid to millions of Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. It has long had tense relations with Israel but relations have deteriorated sharply since the start of the war in Gaza and Israel has called repeatedly for UNRWA to be disbanded.

“It’s another attempt in a wider campaign to dismantle the agency,” UNRWA spokesperson Juliette Touma said. “Such steps are unheard of in the history of the United Nations.”

Israel has said hundreds of UNRWA staff are members of terrorist groups, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, but has yet to provide evidence to a U.N.-appointed review.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) sign lies on the ground, amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas,  at the Kerem Shalom crossing in southern Israel, May 30, 2024. REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo

Several donor countries halted funding to UNRWA following the Israeli accusations but many have since reversed the decision, including Britain which said last week it would resume funding.

Both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority condemned the Israeli vote, and Hussein Al-Sheikh, a senior ally of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, called on the international community to resist attempts to dissolve the agency.

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Israel sends tanks back into Khan Younis area, 70 killed after new evacuation order

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By Nidal al-Mughrabi, Ari Rabinovitch and Hatem Khaled

CAIRO/JERUSALEM/GAZA (Reuters) -Israel sent tanks back into the greater Khan Younis area and at least 49 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire, Gaza medics said on Monday, after ordering evacuations of some districts it said had been used for renewed attacks by militants.

The Palestinians were killed by tank salvoes in the town of Bani Suhaila and other towns fringing the eastern side of Khan Younis, with the area also bombarded by air, they said.

Residents of the densely built-up area of southern Gaza said the tanks advanced for more than two kilometres into Bani Suhaila, forcing residents to flee under fire.

“It is like doomsday,” one resident, who only identified himself as Abu Khaled, told Reuters via chat app. “People are fleeing under fire, many are dead and wounded on the roads.”

The Gaza health ministry said the dead included several women and children and that at least 186 other people had been injured by Israeli fire. The Gaza ministry does not distinguish between militants and civilians in its death tallies.

Around 400,000 people are living in the targeted areas and dozens of families have begun to leave their houses, Palestinian officials said, adding they were not given time to get out of harm’s way before the Israeli strikes began.

Some families fled on donkey carts, others on foot, carrying mattresses and other belongings.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said two of its clinics located in eastern Khan Younis had been knocked out of operation because of the new Israeli offensive.

At Khan Younis’ Nasser Hospital, some people stood outside the morgue to bid farewell to dead relatives.

“We are tired, we are tired in Gaza, every day our children are martyred, every day, every moment,” said Ahmed Sammour, who lost several relatives in bombings of eastern Khan Younis.

“No one told us to evacuate. They brought four floors crashing down on civilians… and the bodies they could reach, they brought to the refrigerator (morgue),” Sammour added.

There was no immediate Israeli comment on the strikes on the eastern side of Khan Younis, whose population initially fled their homes when Israeli tanks stormed in several months ago, before returning after they withdrew to rebuild their lives.

In nearby Deir Al-Balah, where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are sheltering, an Israeli airstrike hit a tent used by local journalists inside Al-Aqsa Hospital, killing one of them and wounding two other people, the Hamas-run Gaza government media office said.

The new death raised the number of Palestinian journalists killed in the Israeli offensive to 163, it added.

EVACUATION ORDERS

Earlier on Monday, the Israeli military said it had issued new evacuation orders due to renewed Palestinian militant attacks, including rockets launched from the targeted areas in eastern Khan Younis. The orders did not include health institutions, Palestinians said.

The military said it was adjusting the boundaries of a designated humanitarian zone in coastal Al-Mawasi – to the west of Khan Younis – to keep the civilian population away from areas of combat with Hamas-led Palestinian militants.

The Gaza Civil Emergency Services said Israel’s new orders showed it had downsized the humanitarian-designated areas in southern and central areas, where 1.7 million people were sheltering, to 48 square km from 65 square km in the past.

The Palestinians, the United Nations and international relief agencies have said there is no safe place left in Gaza.

Health officials at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis urged residents on Monday to donate blood because of the large number of casualties being rushed into the medical centre.

“A family, including children, were all torn to pieces while they were sleeping,” said one man who arrived at the hospital in an ambulance bearing the bodies.

Israel has vowed to eradicate Hamas after militants killed 1,200 people and took more than 250 hostages in a cross-border assault on Oct. 7, 2023, according to Israeli tallies.

© Reuters. A Palestinian woman sits on a wheelchair as she and others flee the eastern part of Khan Younis after they were ordered by Israeli army to evacuate their neighborhoods, amid Israel-Hamas conflict, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip July 22, 2024. REUTERS/Hatem Khaled

The death toll among Palestinians in Israel’s retaliatory offensive since then had reached at least 39,006 as of Monday, Gaza health authorities said.

A ceasefire effort led by Qatar and Egypt and backed by the U.S. has so far fallen short because of disagreements over terms between the combatants, who blame each other for the impasse.

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