Hamas delegation departs Cairo as Gaza ceasefire negotiations enter critical phase

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Talks about a potential ceasefire in the Gaza war are at a crucial stage as Hamas is insisting on an end to Israel’s assault in exchange for the release of captives, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected this demand. Hamas is adamant that any ceasefire must include an end to the conflict, while Netanyahu continues to aim for the disarmament of Hamas.

Despite both sides blaming each other for the impasse, negotiations are ongoing with Egyptian and Qatari mediators. Hamas negotiators are holding firm on their conditions, while Israeli officials have not directly participated in talks. Netanyahu stated that Israel is willing to halt fighting to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas, but will not leave Hamas in power in Gaza.

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh accused Netanyahu of prolonging the conflict and hindering peace efforts. The Hamas delegation left Cairo for Doha for consultations and will return for further negotiations on a truce with Israel. CIA Director William Burns is also heading to Doha to push for continued negotiations between the two parties.

The talks come as Israel prepares for a potential assault on Rafah in southern Gaza, where many displaced Palestinians are seeking refuge. The United Nations warned that such an attack would endanger countless lives and disrupt aid operations. Israeli airstrikes and tank fire continued in Gaza, with Hamas claiming responsibility for an attack near a key crossing between Gaza and Israel.

The toll of the war on Gaza has been devastating, with thousands killed and wounded since October. The situation remains tense as negotiations continue towards a possible ceasefire agreement.

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