Israeli delegation heads to Cairo for negotiations on hostage deal, report

Hamas delegation headed by Ismail Haniyeh also reported to be in Egyptian capital where officials say at least 10 days of talks are needed before any cease-fire can come into effect as first phase of deal

An Israeli delegation traveled to Cairo on Thursday for further negotiations a possible deal to release Israeli hostages held by Hamas in exchange for an extended truce and the release of Palestinians terrorists from Israeli jails, the Hezbollah-affiliated Al Akhbar newspaper reported. Ismail Haniyeh is expected to also arrive in Egypt at the head of a Hamas delegation.
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Egyptian officials quoted in the report said that a Qatari delegation was due in Cairo later in the day to begin thorough discussions in order to try to bridge the gap between the demands of Hamas and Israel's position. They also said that Qatar hopes to soon reach a new draft for a deal.
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שלישיםבנימין נתניהו, עבד אל-פתאח א-סיסי  ואמיר קטאר שייח' תמים בן חמד אל-ת'אני
שלישיםבנימין נתניהו, עבד אל-פתאח א-סיסי  ואמיר קטאר שייח' תמים בן חמד אל-ת'אני
Egyptian President, Israeli Prime Minister and Qatari Emir before another round of negotiations
(Photo: Reuters/ Saudi Press Agency/Handout, Reuters/ Saudi Press Agency/Handout, Alex Kolomoisky)
Hamas had demanded an end to the war and a withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza before hostages are released. According to the report, Egypt sees logic in Hamas's demands and expects that American Secretary of State Antony Blinken would return to Cairo after his visit to Israel if the negotiations progress.
The new negotiations would take at least 10 days before the start of the ceasefire as part of the first phase of the deal," the paper said adding that Egypt was waiting to hear how the introduction of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip would look if UNRWA were to cease its operations in Gaza after some of its employees were suspected of participating or assisting in the October 7 atrocities and after some of the major funders of the organization suspended their contributions.
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מחנה אוהלים ברפיח
מחנה אוהלים ברפיח
World fears IDF operations in Rafah, with more than a million refugees
(Photo: REUTERS/Saleh Salem)
On the possible IDF operations in Rafah, the paper said that Egypt asked Israel to stop making "irresponsible" statements about the Palestinian city on its border because they "further complicate matters".
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that although the Hamas response to the proposed hostage deal contains non-starters, there was still a path to continue negotiations. The secretary spoke to reporters after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flat out rejected the Hamas demands and said Israel would continue the war until it achieves victory, which he said was within reach.
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