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Israeli delegation did not attend talks on ceasefire in Gaza

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Jerusalem: The Israeli delegation has decided not to attend talks on ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and the exchange of hostages, as Hamas refused Israel’s request to provide a list of the hostages who are still alive, The New York Times reported, citing officials.

Earlier in the day, Al Qahera News broadcaster reported that delegations from Qatar and the United States, as well as a Hamas delegation, arrived in the Egyptian capital of Cairo to hold a new round of negotiations on de-escalation in the Gaza Strip.

The Qatari prime minister informed on Sunday the head of the Israeli Secret Intelligence Service (Mossad), David Barnea, of Hamas’ refusal, the report said.

In addition, Hamas did not agree to the previously proposed US prisoner exchange deal with Israel, which also affected Israel’s decision to skip negotiations, the report said.

On Sunday, the Axios news website reported that the framework of a proposed deal for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip includes an exchange of some 400 Palestinian prisoners held in Israel for 40 Israeli hostages. The draft deal also reportedly included a six-week pause in hostilities and a gradual return of Palestinians to the northern Gaza Strip.

On October 7, 2023, the Palestinian movement Hamas launched a large-scale rocket attack against Israel from Gaza and breached the border, killing 1,200 people and abducting around 240 others. Israel launched retaliatory strikes, ordered a complete blockade of Gaza, and started a ground incursion into the Palestinian enclave with the declared goal of eliminating Hamas fighters and rescuing the hostages. At least 30,410 people have been killed so far in the Gaza Strip, local authorities said.

On November 24, Qatar mediated a deal between Israel and Hamas on a temporary truce and the exchange of some of the prisoners and hostages, as well as the delivery of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip. The ceasefire was extended several times and expired on December 1. More than 100 hostages are still believed to be held by Hamas in Gaza.

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