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Hamas: Cairo talks on Gaza ceasefire extended for another day

Its negotiators Hamas will continue to Cairo for another day at the request of mediators, continuing talks to reach a ceasefire after two days of no significant progress, an official of the Islamist group said today.

The Cairo talks are seen as the last hurdle to achieving the war's first comprehensive ceasefire Israel– Hamas, a 40-day truce during which Israeli hostages will be released and aid will flow into Gaza, ahead of Ramadan, which is expected to begin early next week.

“The delegation will remain in Cairo today for further talks and is expected to conclude this round later today,” a Hamas official told Reuters.
Egypt's Qahera TV network also reported that the talks had been extended for a third day, but said they were “facing difficulties”.

Earlier, senior Hamas official Bassem Naim told Reuters that the Palestinian Islamist group had presented its proposal for a cease-fire deal to mediators and was now awaiting a response from the Israelis, who are abstaining from this round.

“Netanyahu does not want to reach a deal and the ball is now in the court of the Americans” to pressure him for a deal, Naim said.

A senior Israeli official, asked about Naim's comments that Israel is delaying the deal, said: “The claim is incorrect. Israel is making every effort to reach an agreement. We are waiting for an answer from Hamas.”

The Israel has declined to comment publicly on the Cairo talks.

A source told Reuters earlier that Israel was holding back because Hamas had rejected its request to provide a list of hostages still alive. Naim said this is impossible without a ceasefire first, as the hostages are scattered across the war zone and are being held by different groups.

Egyptian security sources said yesterday, Monday, that they are still in contact with the Israelis so that the negotiations can continue without the presence of the Israeli delegation.

Washington, Israel's closest ally and supporter of ceasefire talks, has said an Israeli-approved deal is already on the table and it is up to Hamas to accept it. Hamas disputes this version as an attempt to avoid placing blame on Israel should the talks break down without an agreement.

The United States has also called on Israel to do more to ease the humanitarian disaster in Gaza, where more than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israel's offensive, which began after Hamas attacks that killed 1,200 people in October.

Source: News Beast

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