Team From Gaza Mediator Egypt Arrives In Israel For Truce Talks

A delegation from Gaza war mediator Egypt arrived in Israel on Friday for a bid to reignite stalled ceasefire and hostage-release negotiations between Israel and Hamas, Israeli and Egyptian media reported

Jerusalem, (APP – UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – 26th Apr, 2024) A delegation from Gaza war mediator Egypt arrived in Israel on Friday for a bid to reignite stalled ceasefire and hostage-release negotiations between Israel and Hamas, Israeli and Egyptian media reported.

The signs of fresh truce talks come alongside Israeli preparations for a military push in Gaza‘s southern city of Rafah, and with spillover from the war leading to stepped-up exchanges of fire over Israel‘s northern border with Lebanon.

There has been “noticeable progress in bringing the views of the Egyptian and Israeli delegations closer”, said Al-Qahera News, which is linked to Egyptian state intelligence services.

Egypt, Qatar and the United States have been trying to find a ceasefire for the war in Gaza without success since a one-week halt to the fighting in November. That truce saw the exchange of 80 Israeli captives in return for 240 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

Since then, global criticism of the toll on Palestinian civilians in Gaza has escalated, as have calls for Hamas militants to release the remaining hostages being held since their October 7 attack triggered the war.

Several Israeli media outlets, citing unnamed officials, said on Friday that Israel‘s war cabinet discussed a new plan for a truce and hostage release ahead of the Egyptian delegation’s visit.

The war also ground on, with missiles fired from an Israeli jet striking Gaza City on Friday, killing at least three people in the Rimal neighbourhood, an AFP reporter said.

“I was sitting selling cigarettes and suddenly a missile fell, shaking the whole area,” a witness who did not give his name told AFP, adding that the bodies of a man, a woman and a little girl were pulled out of the rubble.

The war began with the unprecedented Hamas attack on October 7 that resulted in the deaths of about 1,170 people in Israel, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Israel‘s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 34,356 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

During their attack, Hamas seized hostages, 129 of whom Israel estimates remain in Gaza, including 34 the military says are dead.

Top Arab and European officials are expected to hold talks about Gaza, including about a potential truce, in Saudi Arabia‘s capital on Monday.

French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne and his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock are expected to attend the Riyadh meeting, which is also set to feature newly appointed Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa.

Israel‘s government has vowed to send troops into Rafah, where most of Gaza‘s population is sheltering, but aid groups warn that an invasion would add to already catastrophic conditions in Gaza.

Senior Hamas official Ghazi Hamad, speaking by phone from Qatar, told AFP that an invasion “will undoubtedly threaten the negotiations” and show “that Israel is interested in continuing the war”.

A baby delivered from her dying mother’s womb in Rafah on the weekend has died, the girl’s uncle said. When she was born, doctors hailed her as a “miracle”.

However Rami al-Sheikh told AFP that his niece Ruh has “joined her family in the gardens of eternity”, after her mother was fatally wounded in an Israeli strike.

Opposition to a military operation in Rafah extended to protesting university students in the United States.

“Stop the invasion! Hands off Rafah!” said a sign at a pro-Palestinian encampment at George Washington University in the US capital.

The campus is one of many across the country — Israel‘s biggest military supplier — where protests over Israel‘s war with Hamas have spread.

Leaders of the United States, Britain, France and more than a dozen other countries said on Thursday they “strongly support the ongoing mediation efforts” and called for Hamas to release the remaining captives who “include our own citizens”.

The European Union said on Friday it was giving an extra $73 million in aid to Palestinians in Gaza “in light of the continued deterioration of the severe humanitarian crisis” there.

The World food Programme has warned that famine is “a real and dangerous threat” in Gaza.

In a separate appeal to Hamas, Dani Miran, the father of Hungarian-Israeli hostage Omri Miran, said: “Please confirm the deal to prevent the killing of Israelis, Gazans, Israeli children, Gazan children. Let’s be human beings.”

Israeli demonstrators have intensified protests, including on Thursday in Tel Aviv, for their government to reach a deal that would free the captives, accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of prolonging the war.

The Gaza war has led to increased violence between Israel and Iran‘s proxies and allies, driving up regional tensions.

Israel has struck increasingly deeper into Lebanon, while the Hezbollah movement, based in Lebanon and backed by Iran, has stepped up attacks on Israeli positions across the border.

On Friday the Israeli army said an Israeli civilian was killed by anti-tank missiles fired towards “the area of Har Dov”, which refers to the disputed Shebaa Farms district.

Hezbollah said it had destroyed two Israeli vehicles in the Kfarshuba hills overnight in a “complex ambush” on a convoy using missiles and artillery.

The Israeli military said its fighter jets struck Hezbollah targets around Shebaa village in southern Lebanon, as well as in Kfarshuba and other areas.

Lebanon‘s official National news Agency reported that Shebaa village, Kfarshuba and Helta were targeted by “more than 150 Israeli shells”, leaving homes damaged.

An 18-year-old woman was seriously wounded in a stabbing attack in the Israeli city of Ramle, Israeli emergency response service Magen David Adom said, adding that the “terrorist was neutralised”.


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