First Thing: Hamas ‘close’ to truce agreement with Israel, leader says

Deal could include limited ceasefire and exchange of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners. Plus, most US gun deaths are suicides. How can they be prevented?

Good morning.

Ismail Haniyeh, the most senior political leader of Hamas, has said a truce agreement with Israel may be close, raising hopes of a pause in the Israeli offensive in Gaza and the release of at least some of the Israeli hostages the militant organisation is holding there.

What could the agreement consist of? Two sources familiar with the truce talks told Agence France-Presse a tentative deal included a five-day truce, comprising a ceasefire on the ground and limits to Israeli air operations over southern Gaza. In return, between 50 and 100 prisoners held by Hamas and Islamic Jihad – a separate Palestinian militant group – would be released. They would include Israeli civilians and captives of other nationalities, but no military personnel.

What has Israel said? Israel’s national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, issued a statement this morning warning against a deal. Yesterday he was involved in angry exchanges with families of those being held hostage by Hamas.

How did the judges make the decision? While courts at all levels have allowed private claims seeking to enforce the voting rights law for decades, this is an “assumption that rests on flimsy footing”, according to the opinion written by Judge David Stras, who was appointed by Donald Trump. The ruling dissected the law itself, finding it did not include specific language that allows anyone aside from the attorney general to bring enforcement action.

What happens next? It is expected there will be an appeal to the supreme court over the ruling.

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