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Israeli delegation travels to Cairo for ceasefire-for-hostage deal talks

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-04-01 03:36

A drone view of protesters launching a prolonged demonstration calling for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to resign and a general election in front of the Knesset, Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on March 31. [Photo/Agencies]

JERUSALEM -- An Israeli delegation of security officials departed for Egypt's Cairo on Sunday for talks to secure the release of hostages held in Gaza as part of a ceasefire deal.

The delegation includes representatives of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency, Shin Bet internal security agency, and the military, an Israeli government official confirmed to Xinhua.

On Friday, Netanyahu's office said in a statement that he has spoken with the heads of the Mossad and Shin Bet and "approved the next round of talks, in the coming days, in Doha and Cairo." The delegation was given a mandate "for moving forward in the negotiations," the office said.

The main sticking points between the two sides in previous rounds of indirect talks were that Hamas demanded a full stop of war, while Israel only agreed to a temporary ceasefire, and the country also refused Hamas's request to allow displaced civilians to return to their homes.

Qatar, Egypt and the United States have been pushing for a captive swap deal and a ceasefire in Gaza, as the first pause lasted only a week in late November last year.

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