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Hamas, Egypt make progress in shoring up Gaza ceasefire – report

Yahya Sinwar, leader of the Palestinian Hamas movement meets with General Abbas Kamel, Egypt's intelligence chief, as he arrives for a meeting with leaders of Hamas in Gaza City. (Atia Mohammed/Flash90)
Yahya Sinwar, leader of the Palestinian Hamas movement meets with General Abbas Kamel, Egypt's intelligence chief, as he arrives for a meeting with leaders of Hamas in Gaza City. (Atia Mohammed/Flash90)

Hamas and Egypt have advanced agreements to strengthen the ceasefire between Israel and the terror group as senior Hamas officials meet with Egyptian intelligence in Cairo, Turkish state media reports.

The terror group and Egypt saw “progress” in “understandings to stabilize the truce in Gaza, speed up the pace of reconstruction, and efforts to ease the siege,” according to the Anadolu news agency.

A Hamas source tells Anadolu that the sides discussed a possible prisoner swap between the terror group and Israel, but did not make meaningful headway.

A Hamas official tells The Times of Israel that some movement in the talks had already been “expected” but adds: “These meetings are often just talk. But obligations are later borne out if each side does what it has pledged to do.”

Israel and Hamas have been holding indirect negotiations, moderated by Egypt, on stabilizing the fragile ceasefire since the 11-day battle between the two sides in May. Israel has vowed not to allow a full reconstruction of Gaza without a prisoner swap between the two sides.

In a rare scene, senior Hamas officials, including Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, gathered in Cairo on Sunday night for the current round of talks with Egyptian intelligence.

“When that many senior Hamas officials head for Cairo, there is already fertile ground for an agreement, and many matters have already been discussed,” another source close to Hamas says.

The Hamas official, however, suggested that there could be another reason for the Hamas leadership gathering — the recently concluded internal Hamas elections, which saw Haniyeh win a second four-year term as chief.

“It’s also an opportunity for everyone to meet, within the overarching political agenda, it connects to the organizational agenda,” the Hamas official says.

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