The armed wing of Hamas has said that its fighters killed four Israeli soldiers in the municipality of al-Zahra, central Gaza

Iran Press/ West Asia: The group said the Israeli troops had targeted its fighters while attempting to transport explosive devices to a home.

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas on Oct. 7, killing at least 31,490 and wounding 73,439 others. The death toll in Israel from the October 7 Hamas attacks stands at 1,139 as efforts by different countries to declare a ceasefire continue.

Sources from Hamas have told Al Jazeera that the group submitted a three-stage ceasefire that includes facilitating aid deliveries and returning displaced Palestinians to their homes.

Each of the three stages would last 42 days.

In the first stage, Israeli forces would withdraw beyond Salah al-Din Street near Gaza City in central Gaza to enable some of the displaced people to return home. Hamas would release a female Israeli reservist held captive in Gaza for every 50 Palestinian prisoners set free by Israel.

The second stage would consist of a permanent ceasefire to be announced before Hamas releases any captive Israeli soldiers.

In the final stage, the group proposed the end of Israel’s siege on Gaza and the beginning of reconstruction efforts. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dismissed Hamas’s latest ceasefire proposal, calling it “absurd”, according to The Times of Israel, which cited a statement from his office issued after a meeting of Israel’s war cabinet.

The statement also said Israel’s military is preparing to invade the southern Rafah district of Gaza, where about 1.5 million Palestinians, most of them displaced, now shelter.

At least 31,341 Palestinians have been killed and 73,134 injured in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7. 219

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