GAZA, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- Qatar is mediating an urgent prisoner swap between the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and Israel, a Hamas source said on Sunday.
"With U.S. support, Qatar is seeking to accomplish an urgent agreement that would lead to the release of Israeli women captured by Hamas in exchange for Palestinian female prisoners in Israeli prisons," the source, who wished to remain anonymous, told Xinhua.
Hamas has informed Qatar that it would agree to the prisoner swap if all the 36 Palestinian female prisoners in Israeli jails would be released, according to the source.
Hamas on Saturday launched a surprise attack on Israeli towns adjacent to the Gaza Strip, prompting Israel to launch retaliatory strikes on Gaza.
During the attack, Hamas militants broke through the security fence that separates the Gaza Strip from Israel and stormed nearby communities, killing and capturing Israelis, including women.
The Gaza-based Health Ministry's latest update on Sunday said the death toll from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza has risen to 413, with more than 2,300 others injured, while Israel's state-owned Kan TV news reported the death toll in Israel has reached 700. ■