Hamas leaders meeting in the Gaza Strip have completed their deliberations on a UN-led proposal for a ceasefire with Israel and will soon head back to Cairo with their response.
“The Hamas leadership delegation that arrived in Gaza last Thursday will return to the Egyptian capital Cairo bearing the vision of the movement regarding all files that were discussed,” Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh told a meeting of Palestinian politicians in the Gaza Strip, according to the Hamas-linked Palestinian Information Center.
The Israeli government will also discuss the proposal on Thursday, with cabinet ministers summoned for a meeting on the situation in Gaza, Hebrew-language media reported.
Senior Hamas officials based in Arab and Islamic countries who entered Gaza last week have been seeking the approval of other Palestinian factions for the ceasefire agreement with Israel, Palestinian sources told the London-based, Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat newspaper Monday.
Hamas leaders were also considering proposals for a reconciliation deal with the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority under which the PA would take control of the Gaza Strip under the auspices of Egypt.
“The delegation will return Cairo bearing the vision of the movement regarding reconciliation, breaking the siege, talk about a ceasefire, confronting the occupation’s acts of aggression and the rebuilding of the Palestinian scene on national foundations,” Haniyeh said.
The deputy head of Hamas’s politburo, Saleh al-Arouri, is expected to head the delegation to Cairo.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will travel to Jordan on Wednesday and then to Qatar for talks on Gaza, according to Palestinian media.
The marathon meeting of Hamas leaders ended a day after Israeli political and military brass huddled for several hours to discuss a detente, but did not release any concrete decisions. Following the meeting, a statement from the cabinet said “the IDF is prepared for any scenario.” It gave no indication if any decision on a truce had been made.
Earlier on Tuesday two Hamas fighters were reported killed by Israel in a Hamas post in Gaza. The IDF said the two opened fire on IDF soldiers patrolling the Gaza Strip border. Hamas denied an attack, saying the two were taking part in a naval commando drill.
Hamas threatened to avenge their deaths and warned Israel that it would pay for the attack. “The resistance cannot allow the occupation to impose a policy of bombing sites and targeting fighters without paying the price,” it said in a statement.
Meanwhile 10 fires broke out in the Gaza periphery throughout the day due to incendiary devices launched from the Strip into Israel. All were brought under control by firefighters.
Hamas is an Islamist terror group that seized control of Gaza in 2007 and seeks to destroy Israel.
Adam Rasgon contributed to this report.