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Hamas in Cairo to discuss truce offer with Israel in Gaza

Photo: Agence France-Presse A little Palestinian boy carries a container of water in Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip, on May 4, 2024.

France Media Agency in the Gaza Strip

Published at 12:27 p.m.

  • Middle East

A Hamas delegation discusses Saturday in Cairo with mediators an offer of a truce in the war between the Palestinian Islamist movement and Israel in Gaza, at a time when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatens to launch an assault on Rafah.

On the ground, new Israeli strikes were carried out in the Gaza Strip, notably on Rafah, an overpopulated town in the south of the territory Palestinians, leaving 32 dead in the last 24 hours, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health.

After almost seven months of a devastating war, the truce offer on the table includes a 40-day pause in the Israeli offensive in Gaza. It is accompanied by the release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the release of hostages kidnapped during the Hamas attack on October 7 against Israel, which started the war.

The Hamas delegation, led by Khalil al-Hayya, number two in the political branch in Gaza, arrived in Egypt, said a movement official.

A first round negotiations were to begin at the beginning of the afternoon with “the presence of delegations from Qatar, Egypt and the United States”, the mediator countries, he added on condition of anonymity, stressing that several points still remained to be resolved.

According to the American site Axios, the head of the CIA, William Burns, is in the Egyptian capital.

In Jerusalem, an Israeli official said discussions in Cairo focused on the “framework” for a possible exchange of hostages for Palestinian prisoners.

Israel does not will send a delegation there only in the event of progress on this subject, he indicated, saying he then expected “difficult negotiations” to reach an actual agreement.

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“Positive spirit”

In power in Gaza since 2007, Hamas indicated on Friday that it was going to Cairo “in a positive spirit”, while insisting on its demands: “a total cessation of Israeli aggression”, “the withdrawal” of Israeli forces from Gaza and “a serious arrangement for the exchange” of hostages for Palestinian prisoners.

Israel refuses a definitive ceasefire and Mr. Netanyahu says he is determined to carry out a ground offensive on Rafah, which he believes constitutes the last major bastion of the Islamist movement. More than a million Palestinians are crowded there, most displaced by the war.

“We will do what is necessary to win and defeat our enemy, including in Rafah”, Benjamin Netanyahu repeated this week, reaffirming his intention to launch this offensive “with or without an agreement” of truce.

For Hossam Badran, member of the political bureau of Hamas, Mr. Netanyahu's threats against Rafah “clearly aim to derail any possibility of an agreement” of truce.

« -beyond acceptable »

The United States, Israel's great ally, has repeatedly expressed its opposition to an assault on Rafah.

According to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Israel will not has presented no plan to protect civilians and as such, the United States cannot support such an operation “because the damage it would cause would be beyond what is acceptable.”

“A large-scale military operation in Rafah could lead to bloodshed,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization, warned on Friday.

Rafah, located on Egypt's closed border, is the main land crossing point for humanitarian aid to the Palestinian territory besieged by Israel.

An offensive would be “a major blow to humanitarian operations across the Gaza Strip,” the UN Office of Humanitarian Affairs warned.

L he international aid, strictly controlled by Israel, arrives in dribs and drabs in the Gaza Strip and remains very insufficient to meet the needs of the approximately 2.4 million Gazans.

On October 7, Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza in southern Israel launched an attack which left more than 1,170 dead, mainly civilians, according to an AFP report based on official Israeli data.

During the attack, more than 250 people were kidnapped and 128 remain captive in Gaza, of whom 35 died, according to the army.

In retaliation, Israel vowed to destroy Hamas, which it considers a terrorist organization along with the United States and the European Union. Its army launched a large-scale offensive – air, then land – in Gaza which has so far killed 34,654 people, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health.


On Saturday, Israeli strikes targeted Gaza and clashes pitted Israeli soldiers against fighters Palestinians in this town in the north of the Palestinian territory, according to an AFP correspondent on site.

Three bodies and three injured people were removed from the rubble of a house bombed, according to Gaza Civil Defense.

Israeli strikes also took place in Rafah, where a hospital said it received a body and several wounded after a bombing on a house, as well as in the center of the Gaza Strip.

“A neighbor came knocking on the door to tell us to evacuate the area. We just had time to take our children […] and we left,” said Tarek Soufiya, after an Israeli strike on the al-Maghazi refugee camp (center).

“The whole area is in ruins,” he added.

According to the Israeli army, planes struck “terrorist targets” in the Khan Yunis area (south) after a device launched towards a kibbutz in southern Israel fell near the “security fence”.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116