Hamas leader leaves Egypt after cease-fire talks with officials there

Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas

© APA | Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas' leader

# 23 February 2024 11:14 (UTC +04:00)

Hamas says its political leader, Ismail Haniyeh, has left Egypt after holding talks with Egyptian officials about a possible cease-fire in the Gaza Strip and an exchange of hostages held by the militants for Palestinians imprisoned in Israel, APA reports citing ABC News.

The statement released early Friday by Hamas did not say whether Haniyeh’s talks with Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel about ways of ending the war, a hostage deal and the flow of aid to Gaza were successful or led to a breakthrough.

The talks in Cairo came ahead of a high-level meeting expected over the weekend in Paris, where international mediators will present a new proposal. The United States, Egypt and Qatar have been struggling for weeks to find a formula that could halt Israel’s devastating offensive in Gaza.

Israel seeks a phased deal, including a temporary pause in fighting in exchange for the release of some of the roughly 100 hostages still held by militants since the brutal Oct. 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel. Israel has vowed to keep fighting until Hamas is crushed.

Hamas initially demanded to end the war, now in its fifth month, before hostages can be released. Hamas has said that it would release the Israeli hostages in return for the all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Israel rejected that demand, and mediators have been working on a new deal.