May 26, 2024

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Israel issues ultimatum to Hamas over hostage deal

Israel issues ultimatum to Hamas over hostage deal
According to media reports, indirect talks on a hostage and ceasefire deal for the Gaza Strip will continue in Cairo over the weekend. William Burns, head of the US secret service CIA, arrived in the Egyptian capital on Friday, “Axios” news website reported, citing three sources familiar with the process. According to the portal, a delegation of Islamist Hamas, which is waging war against Israel in the Gaza Strip, is expected in Cairo on Saturday.

The subject of secret talks between Israel and Hamas, mediated by Egypt, Qatar and the United States, is a plan to release hostages held by Hamas and end Israel’s hostilities at several stages., writes “Axios”. Similar efforts have failed in the past, as Hamas made Israel’s final war conditional on the partial release of hostages.

More recently, observers assumed that Hamas would reject this multi-phase mediation plan. According to Axios, things may turn out differently. Senior Israeli officials said they had seen “first signs” that the Islamists would agree to the first phase of the deal — a temporary truce that included wounded women, children, the elderly and hostages — without insistence. The case so far is that Israel has committed itself to ending the war from the start.

From the beginning, the Israeli leadership insisted on a multi-phase agreement, reserving the option to continue the war if no further agreements were reached after the release of the first hostages and a limited ceasefire. At the same time, Muslims set a price for giving. “Hamas (…) may reduce the number of hostages it releases on humanitarian grounds and instead increase the number of Palestinian prisoners (in Israeli jails) to be released,” reports “Axios”. (sda/dpa)

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