Hamas chief in Egypt for talks on Gaza truce and captives deal

AFP , Ahram Online , Wednesday 20 Dec 2023

The head of Hamas Ismail Haniyeh arrived in Cairo on Wednesday for talks with Egyptian officials on a ceasefire in Gaza and a prisoner exchange, after Israel said it was willing to agree to another pause in exchange for more captives.

Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh. AFP


Hamas chief is expected to lead a high-level delegation for negotiations on stopping the Israeli aggression and the brutal war in the Gaza Strip, and prepare an agreement for the release of prisoners.

Prior to his arrival in Cairo, Haniyeh had met in Doha with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Wednesday, though details on the meeting were scant.

According to Nasser Kanaani, spokesman of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Haniyeh said Hamas was ready for a lasting ceasefire but negotiations were not possible under continuing Israeli attacks in Gaza.

“Iran agrees with the government of Qatar regarding the need to immediately stop Israel’s war against the people of Gaza, and good joint efforts have been made in this regard,” Kanaani said.

Islamic Jihad Movement Secretary-General Ziyad al-Nakhalah is set to lead a delegation from the movement to Cairo within days, in response to an official invitation from Egypt, he told Al Jazeera.

During their visit to Cairo, the delegation will discuss ways to cease the Israeli aggression and negotiate the exchange of detainees.

Nakhalah said that the prisoner exchange deal will adhere to the principle of "all for all" and will be carried out through a political process agreed upon by Palestinian factions, primarily Hamas.

International pressure is mounting for a new truce that could ramp up aid to the besieged Palestinian territory, as hopes grew that Israel and Hamas may be inching toward another truce and captives' release deal.

A source close to Hamas told AFP the Egypt talks would focus on proposals including a week-long truce that would see the release of 40 Israeli hostages, including women, children and male non-combatants.

The truce would be open to extension if there is agreement on new conditions for further releases, the source said, adding that the proposals had been discussed between Qatar and Israel with the knowledge of the US administration.

Egypt, along with Qatar — where Haniyeh is believed to be based — helped mediate a weeklong cease-fire in November in which Hamas freed over 100 captives in exchange for Israel's release of 240 Palestinian children and women detainees.



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