Egypt intensifies global contacts on Gaza ceasefire, captive swap: High-level sources

Ahram Online , Sunday 29 Oct 2023

Egypt is holding intensified contacts with many countries and concerned international and regional parties to reach a ceasefire agreement in Gaza and pave the way for a captive swap, high-level sources told Al-Qahera News.

Palestinians walk about buildings destroyed in the Israeli bombardment in the Nusseirat refugee camp in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023. AP


Egypt also seeks to allow the entry of large quantities of humanitarian aid to Gaza amid the ongoing military escalation, the sources added.

Egypt has been calling for an urgent humanitarian truce in Gaza as per the UN General Assembly’s resolution agreed upon on Friday to protect civilians and allow the immediate entry of relief aid to the strip.

More than three weeks of Israeli strikes have deteriorated the humanitarian and health conditions in Gaza, knocking many of its hospitals out of service amid a dramatic increase in the number of injured on a daily basis.

Over the past week, Egypt has sent more than 80 trucks loaded with international and local humanitarian aid through the Rafah border crossing to Gaza, which has been under a complete blockade by Israel since early October.

However, the aid delivered to the strip falls short of what the territory’s 2.3 million population needs to survive. At least 100 trucks would be required per day to meet the needs of Gaza residents as per UN estimates.

Egypt said on Saturday that Israel is to blame for the delayed delivery of humanitarian aid to the embattled strip, creating hurdles for convoys and imposing overly strict and slow-paced inspection measures.

Egypt has also called on the international community to pressure Israel into allowing aid to Gaza.

Captive swap

Meanwhile, Egypt and Qatar have been mediating to allow the release of Israeli captives taken by Hamas during a surprise Al-Aqsa Flood operation on 7 October.

Hamas' leader in the Gaza Strip Yahya Sinwar said on Saturday that the group is ready for an "immediate" prisoner swap with Israel that would include the release of all Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails in exchange for all captives.

A source told Reuters earlier on Saturday that in-direct negotiations between Israel and Hamas under Qatari mediation are continuing but at a much slower pace than before.

After successful Egyptian-Qatari mediation efforts, Hamas released last week two Israeli women from the around 200 held in captivity by the armed group. A few days earlier, two American captives were released as per Qatari mediation.

Short link: