(Jerusalem) An Israeli delegation heads to Cairo on Tuesday for new talks with American, Qatari and Egyptian officials on a truce agreement in the Gaza Strip including the release of Israeli hostages by Hamas, according to Israeli officials .
The head of Mossad (Israeli foreign intelligence services), David Barnea, and the head of Shin Bet (internal security service), Ronen Bar, will meet there in particular with the director of the CIA, the American central intelligence agency, Richard Burns, the officials added on condition of anonymity.
They will be joined by Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdelrahmane Al-Thani, also his country’s head of diplomacy and negotiator of several ceasefire agreements in Gaza in the past.
No Hamas delegation has planned at this stage to go to Cairo to participate in these indirect discussions sponsored by Qatar and Egypt, an official of the Palestinian movement in power in the Strip told AFP on Tuesday morning. Gaza.
According to Israeli media, the United States has put a lot of pressure in recent days for Israel to participate in these discussions, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has so far refused to do so, deeming Hamas’s proposals for a ceasefire.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who vowed to “destroy Hamas” after the attacks by the Palestinian Islamist movement in Israel on October 7, showed his determination to continue military operations in the Gaza Strip.
He recently ordered his army to prepare an offensive on the city of Rafah, where more than 1.3 million Palestinians are crowded, including more than a million displaced by the war.
The UN fears a bloodbath in this city in the south of the besieged Palestinian territory backed by the closed border with Egypt, and the United States reiterated on Monday its opposition to a large-scale Israeli military operation in Rafah without “credible” protection plan for civilians.
Many countries are calling for a truce agreement between Israel and Hamas including a new release of hostages, a first truce having allowed at the end of November an exchange of dozens of hostages for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.
Hamas said last Thursday that it was still “open” to negotiations for a ceasefire, despite Israel’s rejection of its latest proposals.
The Palestinian movement has mentioned a possible ceasefire of “around six weeks”, a first phase which would make it possible to discuss an exchange between hostages held in Gaza and Palestinian women and children held in Israeli prisons.
Hamas attacks in Israel on October 7 resulted in the deaths of more than 1,160 people, the majority civilians, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli data. Around 250 people were also kidnapped that day.
At the end of November, a one-week truce allowed the release of 105 hostages in exchange for 240 Palestinians detained by Israel. According to Israel, 130 hostages are still in Gaza, of whom 29 are believed to be dead.
The Israeli offensive launched in retaliation for the October 7 attacks left 28,473 dead in the Gaza Strip, the vast majority civilians, according to Hamas.