Hamas envoys expected to travel to Cairo Saturday for truce talks

A Hamas delegation is expected to fly to Cairo Saturday for talks on a truce in Gaza, a source close to the group tells AFP, as mediators scrambled to secure a deal.

Egyptian, Qatari and US go-betweens have been shuttling between Israeli and Hamas negotiators, trying to secure a pause in fighting before the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, which begins on March 10 or 11, depending on the lunar calendar.

The Hamas delegation will “meet with Egyptians overseeing the ceasefire negotiations, to follow up on the negotiation developments that aim to stop the offensive and the war, and to reach a hostage exchange deal,” says the source close to Hamas, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

The source says the delegation would submit Hamas’s “official answer” to a proposal thrashed out with Israeli negotiators in Paris late last month.

A Hamas source tells AFP earlier this week that under the proposal, a truce would last for six weeks, with Hamas releasing 42 hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.

In addition to halting Israel’s offensive, Hamas wants new truce terms to ensure immediate humanitarian relief for Gazans, an Israeli withdrawal and the return of Gazans displaced from the north, the source close to the group says.

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