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Mediators seeking to restart Gaza truce talks: Egypt media

Mediators seeking to restart Gaza truce talks: Egypt media
2 min read
Egyptian media on Tuesday said Cairo, along with mediators Washington and Qatar, have stepped up efforts to secure a ceasefire deal in Gaza.
Tensions between Egypt and Israel have soared this month due to the Israeli assault on Rafah [Getty]

Egypt has stepped up efforts to restart talks aiming to secure a truce in Israel's war on Gaza and a hostage-prisoner exchange, state-linked Al-Qahera News said Tuesday.

Negotiations involving Egyptian, Qatari and US mediators have been at a stalemate since early May, when Israel sent ground forces into the southern Gazan city of Rafah and seized the Palestinian side of the nearby border crossing with Egypt.

Al-Qahera News, which is linked to Egyptian state intelligence, said Cairo had "intensified efforts to relaunch" negotiations for a "truce and a detainee exchange deal".

"We have informed all concerned parties that Israel's insistence on committing massacres and escalating in the Palestinian city of Rafah weakens negotiation tracks and will lead to dire consequences," it quoted a high-level source as saying.

Cairo has refused to send aid through the Rafah crossing "except through Palestinian and international parties and will not coordinate with the Israeli side", the source added.

The report came as Gaza's civil defence agency said an Israeli strike on a displacement camp west of Rafah on Tuesday killed at least 21 people, days after a similar strike that sparked global outrage.

Tensions between Israel and Egypt - which was the first Arab state to recognise Israel and has historically played a key mediator role - have soared this month.

On Monday, Cairo condemned the Israeli strike on a Rafah displacement camp which killed 45 people as a "new flagrant violation" of international law.

Witnesses and a security source told AFP Tuesday that Israeli tanks were stationed in the centre of the city, where 1.4 million mostly displaced Palestinians have sought shelter.

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The deadliest ever war on Gaza was sparked by a Hamas-led attack in southern Israel which resulted in the deaths of around 1,170 people, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures. Around 250 people were also taken hostage, 121 of whom remain in Gaza, Israel says.

Hamas says the attack came in response to decades of Israeli occupation and aggression against the Palestinian people, including the siege of Gaza.

Since then, Israel's blistering military offensive has killed more than 36,000 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the territory's health ministry.