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Hamas arrives in Cairo for ceasefire negotiations with deal ‘on the table’


CAIRO/RAFAH: Israel boycotted Gaza ceasefire talks in Cairo on Sunday after Hamas rejected his request for a complete list of hostages still alive, an Israeli newspaper reported.

A Hamas delegation arrived in Cairo for the negotiations, presented as a possible final obstacle before a deal that would end fighting for six weeks. But by early evening there was no sign of the Israelis.

“There is no Israeli delegation in Cairo,” Ynet, the online version of Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, said, citing unidentified Israeli officials. “Hamas refuses to provide clear answers and therefore there is no reason to send the Israeli delegation.”

Washington insisted the ceasefire deal was close and should be in place in time to end the fighting by the start of Ramadan a week from now. But the warring parties have given few public signs of backing down from their earlier demands.

After the Hamas delegation arrived, a Palestinian official told Reuters that the deal was “not yet concluded.” From the Israeli side, there has been no official comment.

A source briefed on the talks said Saturday that Israel could stay away from Cairo unless Hamas first presents its full list of remaining hostages. A Palestinian source told Reuters that Hamas had so far rejected the request. In previous negotiations, Hamas has sought to avoid discussing the well-being of individual hostages until the terms of their release are set. A U.S. official told reporters Saturday: “The path to a ceasefire right now, literally, at this time, it’s simple. And there’s a deal on the table. There’s a deal- frame.

Israel accepted this framework and it is now up to Hamas to respond, the American official said.

A deal would bring about the first extended truce in the war, which has lasted five months so far, with only a one-week break in November. Dozens of hostages held by militants would be released in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian detainees.

Aid would be stepped up for Gazans pushed to the brink of famine. The fighting would cease in time to prevent a planned massive attack by Israel on Rafah, where more than half of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents are herded against the enclave’s southern border fence that borders Egypt. Israeli forces would withdraw from some areas and let Gazans return to their abandoned homes.

But the proposal appears to fall short of Hamas’ main demand for a definitive end to the war, while leaving up in the air the fate of more than half of the more than 100 remaining hostages – including Israeli men not covered by the conditions of release of women, children, the elderly and the injured.

Egyptian mediators suggested that these issues could be put aside for now, with assurances of resolving them later. A Hamas source told Reuters that the militants were still waiting for a “comprehensive agreement.”

In a morgue outside a hospital in Rafah on Sunday morning, women wept and wailed next to rows of bodies of the Abu Anza family, 14 of whom were killed in their home in an airstrike during the night. Relatives opened a black plastic body bag to kiss the face of a dead schoolgirl dressed in a torn sweatshirt and pink unicorn pajamas.

Later, the bodies were taken to a cemetery and buried, including two twin babies, a boy and a girl, passed in white bundles and placed in the ground.

“My heart is gone,” cried their mother, Rania Abu Anza, who also lost her husband in the attack. “I didn’t spend enough time with them.”

Gaza authorities said at least eight people were killed Sunday when a truck carrying food aid from a Kuwaiti charity was hit by an airstrike. There was no immediate Israeli comment.

The war was sparked in October after Hamas fighters stormed Israeli towns, killing 1,200 people and capturing 253 hostages, according to Israeli figures. Since then, Israeli forces have killed more than 30,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza health authorities, and there are fears that thousands more dead could be found under the rubble.

Entire swaths of the Gaza Strip have been devastated, almost the entire population has been left homeless and the United Nations estimates that a quarter of Gaza’s residents are on the brink of starvation.

Residents described intense overnight shelling on Khan Younis, the main town in southern Gaza, just north of Rafah. Further north, where aid is no longer arriving, Gaza health authorities said 15 children had died of malnutrition or dehydration at Kamal Adwan Hospital where there was no electricity to power the hospital. intensive care unit. Staff fear for the lives of six other children.

Washington dropped 38,000 meals from military planes into Gaza on Saturday, although aid agencies say that was barely enough to have a marginal impact given the scale of the needs.

The final days before the planned truce have been exceptionally bloody, with talks overshadowed last week by the deaths of 118 people and hundreds injured near a food convoy.

Israel said Sunday that its initial review of the incident found that most of those killed or injured died in a stampede. Military spokesman Daniel Hagari said Israeli troops at the scene initially fired only warning shots, but then fired on “looters” who “approached our forces and constituted an immediate threat.

Muatasem Salah, a member of the health ministry’s emergency committee in Gaza, told Reuters that the Israeli account was contradicted by gunshot wounds.

“The injuries and martyrs are the result of the shooting of large caliber bullets,” he said. “Any attempt to claim that people were martyred due to overcrowding or being crushed is incorrect.”


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