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Israel and Hamas are making progress in cease-fire and hostage launch talks, officers say

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CAIRO — Israel and Hamas are making progress towards a deal that goals to convey a couple of cease-fire and free hostages held within the war-ravaged Gaza Strip, in accordance with two officers with direct information of the talks, as key conferences proceed Tuesday between the edges within the Egyptian capital.

Talks are shifting ahead even after Israel intensified its offensive within the southern Gaza city of Rafah, the place 1.4 million displaced Palestinians have fled to hunt shelter from preventing elsewhere. A brazen Israeli hostage rescue mission freed two captives held within the city alongside the Egyptian border, a raid that killed at the least 74 Palestinians, in accordance with native well being officers, and left a path of destruction.

A deal would give folks in Gaza a desperately wanted respite from the battle, now in its fifth month, and provide freedom for at the least a few of the 100 folks nonetheless held captive in Gaza. With the battle grinding on, efforts mediated by Qatar, the U.S. and Egypt to convey a couple of deal have been hobbled by the starkly disparate positions of Hamas and Israel.

Israel has made destroying Hamas’ governing and navy capabilities and liberating the hostages the principle objectives of its battle, which was launched after hundreds of Hamas-led militants rampaged via southern Israel, killing 1,200 folks, principally civilians, and taking roughly 250 folks captive, together with ladies and kids, in accordance with Israeli authorities. Tens of hundreds of Israelis have been displaced from destroyed communities.

The battle has wrought unimaginable destruction within the Gaza Strip, with greater than 28,000 folks killed, greater than 70% of them ladies and minors, in accordance with native well being officers. Huge swaths of the territory have been flattened by Israel’s offensive, round 80% of the inhabitants has been displaced and a humanitarian disaster has pushed greater than 1 / 4 of Palestinians in Gaza towards hunger.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to press on till “complete victory,” and has insisted that robust navy strain will safe the hostages’ freedom — an concept his allies say was bolstered by the profitable rescue mission. However the rescued hostages, Fernando Marman, 60, and Louis Har, 70, have been simply the second and third captives to be freed by the navy for the reason that battle erupted.

Different Israeli officers have stated solely a deal can convey concerning the launch of so many hostages.

A deal in late November led to a short truce in alternate for the discharge of about 100 hostages. About 240 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel have been additionally freed as a part of the deal. Israel says about 30 captives are believed to have died or been killed whereas in captivity, with their our bodies nonetheless in Gaza. Three hostages have been killed erroneously by Israeli forces in December and one feminine Israeli soldier was freed in a rescue mission within the early weeks of the battle.

A senior Egyptian official stated mediators have achieved what he described as “comparatively important” progress within the negotiations between Israel and Hamas forward of a scheduled assembly in Cairo on Tuesday of representatives from Qatar, U.S. and Israel. Israeli media reported the top of the Mossad, David Barnea, was in Cairo.

The Egyptian official stated the assembly would concentrate on “crafting a last draft” of a six-week cease-fire deal, with ensures that the events would proceed negotiations towards a everlasting cease-fire.

A Western diplomat within the Egyptian capital additionally stated a six-week deal was on the desk however cautioned that extra work continues to be wanted to achieve an settlement.

He stated the assembly Tuesday can be essential in bridging the remaining gaps to get the 2 sides to agree on a six-week truce and embark on talks for a last cease-fire deal.

Each officers spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of they weren’t licensed to debate the delicate talks with the media.

Whereas the officers didn’t disclose the exact particulars of the rising deal, the edges have been discussing various proposals for weeks.

Israel has proposed a two-month cease-fire through which hostages can be freed in alternate for the discharge of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel, and prime Hamas leaders in Gaza can be allowed to relocate to different international locations.

Hamas rejected these phrases. It laid out a three-phased plan of 45 days every through which the hostages can be launched in levels, Israel would free a whole bunch of imprisoned Palestinians, together with senior militants, and the battle can be wound down with Israel withdrawing its troops. That was considered as a nonstarter for Israel, which desires to topple Hamas earlier than ending the battle.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken indicated final week on a go to to the area that there was hope the talks may result in a deal, and on Monday, President Joe Biden additionally signaled they have been heading nearer to fruition.

“The important thing parts of the deal are on the desk,” Biden stated alongside visiting Jordanian King Abdullah II, including, “there are gaps that stay.”

He stated the U.S. would do “the whole lot potential” to make an settlement occur.

The indicators of progress got here regardless of ongoing preventing.

Palestinians have been nonetheless counting the {dead} after Israel’s hostage rescue mission, with the loss of life toll climbing to 74 on Tuesday. Residents and displaced Palestinians in Gaza have been looking via the rubble from Israeli airstrikes that offered cowl for the Israeli forces.

Whereas issues have grown over Rafah as a result of it’s sheltering such a large inflow of Palestinians, preventing was persevering with all through the Gaza Strip, with the Israeli navy saying troops have been battling militants in Gaza’s second largest metropolis, Khan Younis, and in central Gaza. It stated Tuesday that three troopers have been killed in fight, elevating the loss of life toll amongst troops for the reason that Gaza floor operation started in late October to 232.

The Well being Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza says the our bodies of 133 folks killed in Israeli strikes have been dropped at hospitals over the previous day. The fatalities introduced the loss of life toll in Gaza to twenty-eight,473 for the reason that battle started on Oct. 7, in accordance with the ministry, which says greater than 68,000 folks have been wounded.


Jobain reported from Rafah, Gaza Strip, and Goldenberg from Tel Aviv, Israel.


Discover extra of AP’s protection at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war

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