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Mediators seeking to restart Gaza truce talks: Egypt media

By AFP

May 28, 2024 10:39 PM


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Egypt has stepped up efforts to restart talks aiming to secure a truce in the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza and a hostage-prisoner exchange, state-linked Al-Qahera News said Tuesday.

Negotiations involving Egyptian, Qatari and US mediators have been at a stalemate since early May, when Israel sent ground forces into the southern Gazan city of Rafah and seized the Palestinian side of the nearby border crossing with Egypt.

Al-Qahera News, which is linked to Egyptian state intelligence, said Cairo had "intensified efforts to relaunch" negotiations for a "truce and a detainee exchange deal".

"We have informed all concerned parties that Israel's insistence on committing massacres and escalating in the Palestinian city of Rafah weakens negotiation tracks and will lead to dire consequences," it quoted a high-level source as saying.

Cairo has refused to send aid through the Rafah crossing "except through Palestinian and international parties and will not coordinate with the Israeli side", the source added.

The report came as Gaza's civil defence agency said an Israeli strike on a displacement camp west of Rafah on Tuesday killed at least 21 people, days after a similar strike that sparked global outrage.

Tensions between Israel and Egypt -- which was the first Arab state to recognise Israel and has historically played a key mediator role -- have soared this month.

On Monday, Cairo condemned the Israeli strike on a Rafah displacement camp which killed 45 people as a "new flagrant violation" of international law.

Witnesses and a security source told AFP Tuesday that Israeli tanks were stationed in the centre of the city, where 1.4 million mostly displaced Palestinians have sought shelter.

The deadliest ever war in Gaza was sparked by Hamas's October 7 attack on southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Militants also took 252 hostages, 121 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 the army says are dead.

Israel's retaliatory offensive in the Hamas-run territory has killed at least 36,096 people, mostly women and children, according to Gaza's health ministry.


AFP


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