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Hamas chief to visit Egypt for Gaza ceasefire talks

Hamas chief to visit Egypt for Gaza ceasefire talks
2 min read
19 December, 2023
The head of Hamas Ismail Haniyeh will visit Egypt to discuss the potential of a new ceasefire with Israel.
Both Hamas and Israel have given indications of support for a new truce [Getty]

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh is set to visit Egypt on Wednesday for talks on a ceasefire in Gaza and a prisoner exchange with Israel, a source close to the Palestinian group said.

Haniyeh, based in Qatar, will head a "high-level" Hamas delegation to Egypt, where he is due to hold talks with Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel and others, the source told AFP on Tuesday.

The discussions will be "on stopping the aggression and the war to prepare an agreement for the release of prisoners (and) the end of the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip," the source said on condition of anonymity, as he was not authorised to talk about the visit.

Under a week-long truce deal last month that Qatar helped negotiate, backed by Egypt and the United States, 80 Israeli hostages were freed in exchange for 240 Palestinians held in Israeli jails.

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According to the Hamas source, the talks in Egypt will focus on "the delivery of humanitarian aid, the withdrawal of the Israeli army from the Gaza Strip and the return of displaced persons to their towns and villages in the north".

Haniyeh's visit will be his second to Egypt since the start of the war on October 7, following a trip in early November.

US news site Axios reported Monday that David Barnea, head of the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, met with Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and CIA director Bill Burns in Europe to discuss a potential new deal to free hostages.

On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had "just sent the head of Mossad to Europe twice to promote a process to free our hostages".

"I will spare no effort on the subject, and our duty is to bring them all back," he said in a statement.

Meeting with hostage families on Tuesday, Netanyahu said that "saving them is a supreme task".