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Hamas delegation heading to Cairo for Egypt-proposed Gaza truce: sources

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-05-04 12:50

The Israeli barrier winds around the outskirts of the East Jerusalem refugee camp of Shuafat, amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Jerusalem, May 3, 2024. [Photo/Agencies]

CAIRO - Hamas has sent a delegation to Cairo in response to an Egypt-proposed initiative for a truce with Israel in the besieged Gaza Strip, two Egyptian sources told Xinhua Saturday on condition of anonymity.

"Egypt was informed by Hamas that a delegation from the movement was heading to Cairo on Saturday with the intention of concluding and implementing a truce agreement with Israel," they said.

Hamas responded to the initiative proposed by Egypt after getting Egyptian guarantees that it could lead to stopping the conflict in Gaza, they added.

Cairo, they said, warned Hamas of the escalation of the situation in Gaza if an agreement was not reached.

CIA Director William Burns will go to Egypt as part of the tripartite guarantors of the deal, namely Egypt, the United States and Qatar, they noted.

A Hamas delegation visited Cairo on Monday and then left to prepare a written response to the truce proposal for the ensuing meeting, Egypt's state-affiliated Al-Qahera News TV channel quoted an unnamed official as saying on Monday.

The Egyptian initiative includes three stages, aimed at exchanging Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners, taking necessary measures to reach a ceasefire, and restoring sustainable calm.

The first phase is 40 days, and it stipulates a temporary halt of military operations between the two sides, an exchange of detainees and prisoners, and the return of internally displaced civilians to their areas of residence in Gaza.

It intends to facilitate the entry of intensive and sufficient quantities of humanitarian aid, relief materials and fuel into Gaza, as well as the equipment needed to remove rubble and rehabilitate and operate hospitals, health centers and bakeries in the enclave.

The proposed deal also aims to facilitate the entry of the supplies necessary to establish shelter camps to accommodate displaced Palestinians who lost their homes during the conflict.

Cairo, Doha and Washington mediated a week-long truce between Israel and Hamas that ended in late November 2023, which included a swap between Palestinian prisoners and Israeli hostages as well as more humanitarian aid delivery to Gaza.

Israel estimates that there are about 134 Israeli hostages in Gaza, 70 of whom Hamas said were killed in random Israeli raids.

Israel holds more than 9,000 Palestinians in its prisons, whose conditions have worsened and some of whom have died since Israel began its attacks on Gaza, according to Palestinian organizations.

Israel has launched a large-scale offensive against Hamas in Gaza since Oct. 7, 2023, following Hamas's surprise attack on southern Israel that killed about 1,200 people.

The ongoing Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip has killed more than 34,600 Palestinians, besides many unreported under the rubble, and wounded over 77,800 others, according to Gaza health authorities. It also led to massive destruction of homes and infrastructure in Gaza.

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