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Hamas chief arrives in Cairo for talks on Israeli war on Gaza

February 21, 2024 at 9:07 am

Ismail Haniyeh, Head of the Hamas Political Bureau [Fazil Abd Erahim/Anadolu Agency]

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh arrived in Cairo yesterday to hold talks on the ongoing Israeli onslaught on the besieged Gaza Strip, Anadolu news agency reported.

In a statement, the Palestinian resistance group said Haniyeh and his delegation are scheduled to hold talks with Egyptian officials on the situation on the ground and the political arena.

The talks will follow efforts to stop the Israeli aggression on Gaza, it added.

Haniyeh’s visit to Cairo comes as Qatari and Egyptian efforts continue with the aim of reaching a prisoner swap deal and a ceasefire in Gaza.

Hamas has repeatedly stated its pre-conditions for a prisoner swap deal are a complete ceasefire, Israeli army withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and rebuilding Gaza.

On 7 February, the movement proposed a three-stage plan for a Gaza ceasefire that includes a 135-day pause in the fighting in return for the release of hostages.

The original framework agreement was worked out during a Paris meeting which included top officials from the US, Israel, Qatar and Egypt last month.

American Axios news website quoted three American and Israeli officials on Tuesday as saying that White House Mideast envoy, Brett McGurk, will visit Israel and Egypt this week to hold talks about a possible ground operation in Rafah and a prisoner swap deal.

According to the sources, McGurk is expected to meet with the director of the Egyptian Intelligence Service, Abbas Kamel, and other Egyptian officials in Cairo today and with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, and other Israeli officials, tomorrow.

Haniyeh has recently said that Hamas was dealing with the ongoing negotiations in Cairo positively, stressing that it would not accept anything less than a complete cessation of the Israeli aggression and withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

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