Hamas Leader Haniyeh’s Visit To Egypt Sparks Ceasefire Talks

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh visited Egypt for the first time in over a month, signalling a diplomatic intervention. 

The visit, on Wednesday, is reportedly focused on discussions about a potential new ceasefire to facilitate aid delivery to Gaza and the release of more hostages.

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Mr Haniyeh’s last visit to Egypt was in early November, preceding the announcement of the only ceasefire in the recent Gaza war. 

This week-long pause led to the release of approximately 110 out of 240 hostages taken by Hamas during its October 7 incursion into Israel.

Islamic Jihad, another Palestinian militant group holding hostages in Gaza, announced that its leader would soon visit Egypt to explore potential conflict resolution.

One source told Reuters that envoys are actively deliberating the terms of a new truce, specifically identifying which hostages still held by Palestinian Islamist militants in Gaza could be released, and determining the prisoners Israel might release in return.

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Israel is reportedly insisting on the release of all remaining women and infirm male hostages. 

The source also mentioned the possibility of including Palestinians convicted of serious offences in the list of prisoners to be freed by Israel.

In a later statement, US President Joe Biden expressed cautious optimism, saying that a second Israel-Hamas hostage release deal might not be imminent, but efforts are underway.

According to diplomatic sources, a United Nations Security Council vote to enhance aid to the Gaza Strip has faced further delays at the request of the US.

The situation in Gaza remains dire, with nearly 20,000 confirmed deaths reported by the Gazan health ministry, and thousands more believed to be trapped.

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