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Netanyahu hosts Egyptian spymaster for talks on Gaza ceasefire

Prime Minister Netanyahu hosts an Egyptian delegation led by Egypt’s intelligence chief Abbas Kemal, who is in the country for talks on the ceasefire that ended fighting between Israel and the Hamas terror group that rules Gaza earlier this month.

A statement from Netanyahu’s office says the two discussed strengthening bilateral cooperation and “the regional issues,” and that they hailed “the joint effort between the countries on various security and diplomatic matters.”

Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s demand for the return of two citizens and the bodies of two soldiers killed in the 2014 Gaza war believed held by Hamas, according to the Prime Minister’s Office, which says they also discussed “the mechanisms and processes for preventing the strengthening of Hamas and preventing it from being aided by resources that will be allocated in the future for the civilian population.”

The statement doesn’t use the word ceasefire or make any explicit mention of the agreement Egypt helped broker to end the 11 days of hostilities that erupted on May 10, after Hamas fired rockets toward Jerusalem amid escalating Israeli-Palestinian tensions over the city.

Prime Minister Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hosts Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel at his official residence in Jerusalem, May 30, 2021. (Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)

Also taking part in the sit-down was National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, who met with Kemal earlier for what the PMO says was a “lengthy discussion on these matters.”

The meetings come as Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi is being hosted by his Egyptian counterpart Samey Shoukry for talks on the Gaza ceasefire.

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