Hostage negotiations to resume in Cairo, without Israeli delegation

Egyptian sources say talks not affected by death of Palestinians in rush of aid truck last week; Israeli official says unless Hamas provides names of hostages still living, Israel will not attend
Itamar Eichner, Liran Tamari, Agencies |
Negotiations for a deal that would bring about the release of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, are to resume on Sunday in Cairo, Egyptian security sources said although a senior Israeli official said no Israel delegation is scheduled to attend.
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The official said that until Hamas provides the names of the hostages who are still alive, Israel will remain absent from negotiations.
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דוד ברנע ויחיא סינוואר
דוד ברנע ויחיא סינוואר
דוד ברנע ויחיא סינוואר
(Photo: EPA, Yariv Katz)
The central issue being discussed in mediations is how many hostages would be released from Gaza, and in turn how many Palestinians would be freed by Israel in exchange for each of them. "Until clear answers are given, a delegation would not be leaving to Cairo," the official said.
The Egyptian sources said earlier that an incident on Thursday amid a stampede of Gazan's on an aid truck in the north of the Strip, in which according to Hamas resulted in the death of more than 100 people, had not slowed down the talks, but instead pushed negotiators to hasten to preserve progress.
A Palestinian official familiar with mediation efforts did not immediately confirm the Cairo talks. "When it comes to ending the war and pulling out forces out of Gaza, gaps remain unbridged," the official said.
Speaking to reporters about a ceasefire as he left the White House on Friday, U.S. President Joe Biden said: "We're not there yet."
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki echoed the hope that a ceasefire would be agreed in time for Ramadan.
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ריאד אל מאלכי שר החוץ של הרשות הפלסטינית
ריאד אל מאלכי שר החוץ של הרשות הפלסטינית
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki
(Photo: Yuki Iwamura / AP)
"We hope that we will be able to achieve a ceasefire before Ramadan, we hope to be able to achieve one today, yesterday, but we have failed," Maliki, who represents the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, said during a visit to Turkey.
Meanwhile thousand of Israelis have joined a march of the families of hostages to Jerusalem, which is expected to end with a rally in the capital later in the evening. The families have been calling on the government to make a deal and bring about the release of the captives, who they say are in mortal danger.
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צעדה של משפחות החטופים לירושלים
צעדה של משפחות החטופים לירושלים
Israelis march with the families of hostages calling for the release of the captives held in Gaza
(Photo: Abir Sultan / EPA)
Among those marching, are some who had been released including Clara Marman and Gabriella Leimberg who were freed in the last hostage release deal in November after 51 days in captivity Fernando Marman and Louis Har who was rescued by the IDF last month after 129 days as a hostage.
"We were there and know what it means," Clara said. "We are here to provide the rest of the families with the strength to carry on fighting for their loved one's release. It is a long road with physical and mental anguish. We are here because united, there is hope."
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