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Hamas official says no agreement with Israel if war continues in Gaza

© Provided by The Rahnuma Daily

Gaza, April 29 (IANS) A Hamas official has said that the group will not accept any agreement with Israel that does not include a cessation of hostilities in the Gaza Strip.

Gaza, April 29 (IANS) A Hamas official has said that the group will not accept any agreement with Israel that does not include a cessation of hostilities in the Gaza Strip.

Sami Abu Zuhri, a senior Hamas official, said in a statement on Sunday that the group “will not accept any agreement that does not include a cessation of war in Gaza”, Xinhua news agency reported.

Abu Zuhri added that Israel’s response, which reached the movement through mediators, is under study, and that it is too early to reach a decision regarding it.

A Hamas delegation is scheduled to visit Cairo on Monday, to deliver the movement’s response regarding a ceasefire in Gaza and to negotiate a hostage-for-prisoner swap deal with Israel, according to a source from the movement.

The source, who preferred not to mention his name, added that the delegation is headed by Khalil Al-Hayya, the Hamas deputy chief in Gaza.

Earlier in the day, as reported by Israeli public radio, a senior Israeli official described the current development as “decisive moments in the efforts to reach a new hostage deal with Hamas.”

The official added, “We are awaiting the response of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar,” expecting it to be made “within the next 48 hours.” He noted that Israel has expressed readiness to make “very significant concessions” regarding the return of displaced persons to northern Gaza.

On Saturday, Hamas announced that it had received Israel’s official response to the movement’s position on the Gaza ceasefire, which was submitted to the mediators Egypt and Qatar on April 13.

At the time, Hamas reiterated its demands, including “a permanent ceasefire, the withdrawal of the (Israeli) army from Gaza, the return of the displaced to their areas and places of residence, the increase of relief and aid for the strip, and the start of its reconstruction.”

Abu Zuhri noted in the Sunday statement that Hamas would study the new Israeli proposal, and upon completion, it would hand over its response to the mediators.

The movement’s announcement came after Egyptian Intelligence Chief Abbas Kamel recently arrived in Israel in an effort to broker a ceasefire deal between the conflicting parties.

Kamel held a series of meetings with Israeli security officials on the potential military operation in Rafah and the release of detainees, according to Israeli media outlets.

Qatar, Egypt and the United States are seeking to reach a deal for a prisoner exchange and a second ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, following the first one that ended last December.

Israel estimated that there were still about 134 Israelis held hostage in Gaza, whereas Hamas announced that 70 of them had been killed in Israeli indiscriminate airstrikes.

Israel holds more than 9,000 Palestinian prisoners in its jails, whose conditions have worsened since its war on Gaza began last October, resulting in deaths among them, according to Palestinian organizations concerned with prisoners.

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