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Israel sets one-week deadline for Hamas deal or threatens Rafah offensive: Report

May 4, 2024 at 2:13 pm

Smoke rises from the area after the Israeli army attacked Nuseirat refugee camp in Deir Al Balah, Gaza on April May 3, 2024. [Ashraf Amra – Anadolu Agency]

Israel has given Hamas one week to agree to a ceasefire deal, or it will proceed with its military operation in Rafah, said a report on Friday amid ongoing ceasefire talks in Cairo, Anadolu Agency reports.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Egyptian officials conveyed Israel’s message to Hamas on Thursday.

The officials said Egypt worked with Israel on a revised ceasefire proposal and presented to Hamas last weekend but Hamas’ military leader Yahya Sinwar has yet not responded, according to the report.

Meanwhile, a delegation from the Palestinian Hamas group is expected to visit Cairo on Saturday to discuss ceasefire efforts, according to Egyptian media on Friday.

CIA Director William Burns arrived in Cairo on Friday for meetings with Egyptian officials regarding the talks to reach a ceasefire in Gaza.

Egypt’s state-run Al-Qahera News channel quoted a senior and informed Egyptian source that said Egypt will receive a delegation from Hamas on Saturday to discuss the ceasefire proposal.

The newspaper, however, did not provide further details.

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Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry confirmed on Monday during a meeting of the World Economic Forum in Saudi Arabia that there is a new proposal on the table for a truce in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also said on Monday that Hamas has a proposal that is “extraordinarily, extraordinarily generous on the part of Israel.”

“They have to decide — and they have to decide quickly. I’m hopeful that they will make the right decision,” Blinken added.

Hamas is estimated to be holding more than 130 Israeli hostages, while Tel Aviv is holding more than 9,100 Palestinians in its jails.

A previous deal in November 2023 saw the release of 81 Israelis and 24 foreigners in exchange for 240 Palestinians, including 71 women and 169 children.

The recent proposal reportedly suggests a six-weeks of ceasefire, during which Hamas would release 33 hostages, including women, female soldiers, elderly individuals, and injured captives, in exchange for the release of large number of Palestinians from Israeli jails.

Hamas demands an end to Israel’s deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the territory for any hostage-prisoner swap deal with Tel Aviv.

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