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US says Israel agreed to Gaza cease-fire framework, Hamas now must decide

Official says Israelis ‘have more or less accepted’ the proposal, which includes 6-week truce as well as release by Hamas of hostages considered vulnerable, including sick, wounded, elderly and women; 'The ball is in the court of Hamas'

Associated Press|
Israel has essentially endorsed a framework of a proposed Gazacease-fire and hostage release deal, and it is now up to Hamas to agree to it, a senior U.S. administration official said Saturday, a day before talks to reach an agreement were to resume in Egypt.
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International mediators have been working for weeks to broker a deal to pause the fighting before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins around March 10. A deal likely would allow aid to reach hundreds of thousands of desperate Palestinians in northern Gaza who aid officials worry are under threat of famine.
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  תיעוד מחיסול מחבלים של לוחמי צוות הקרב של חטיבה 7
  תיעוד מחיסול מחבלים של לוחמי צוות הקרב של חטיבה 7
7th Armored Brigade troops operating in southern Gaza's Khan Younis
(Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
The Israelis "have more or less accepted" the proposal, which includes the six-week cease-fire as well as the release by Hamas of hostages considered vulnerable, which includes the sick, the wounded, the elderly and women, said the official.
"Right now, the ball is in the court of Hamas and we are continuing to push this as hard as we possibly can," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity under ground rules set by the White House to brief reporters.
Officials from Israel and from Hamas did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
A senior Egyptian official said mediators Egypt and Qatar are expected to receive a response from Hamas during the Cairo talks scheduled to start Sunday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not publicly authorized to discuss the talks.
U.S. military planes began the first airdrops of thousands of meals into Gaza, and the militaries of Jordan and Egypt said they also conducted airdrops.
US military planes conduct first aid airdrops into Gaza

The European Union's diplomatic service said many of the dozens of Palestinians killed or wounded in the chaos surrounding an aid convoy on Thursday were hit by Israeli army fire and urged an international investigation. It said responsibility for the crisis lay with "restrictions imposed by the Israeli army and obstructions by violent extremist(s) to the supply of humanitarian aid."
IDF Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Israel organized Thursday's humanitarian convoy, "and claims that we attacked the convoy intentionally and that we harmed people intentionally are baseless."
In the violence Thursday, hundreds of people rushed about 30 trucks bringing a predawn delivery to the north. Palestinians said nearby Israeli troops shot into the crowds. Israel said they fired warning shots toward the crowd and insisted many of the dead were trampled. Doctors at hospitals in Gaza and a UN team that visited a hospital said large numbers of the wounded had been shot.
On Saturday, the IDF reported three Israeli soldiers were killed and 14 injured Friday when they inadvertently triggered explosives in a booby-trapped building outside Khan Younis in southern Gaza.
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