No apparent progress in hostage talks, as Hamas insists war must end as part of deal

A woman holds a sign that reads, 'Bring them home now,' in Tel Aviv, May 4, 2024 (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
A woman holds a sign that reads, 'Bring them home now,' in Tel Aviv, May 4, 2024 (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Hamas leaders begin a second day of talks for a truce and hostage deal with Egyptian and Qatari mediators in Cairo, with Palestinian officials saying there is no apparent progress as the terror group maintains its demand that any agreement must end the war.

One Palestinian official, close to the mediation effort, says the Hamas delegation had arrived in Cairo with a determination to reach a deal “but not at any price.”

“A deal must end the war and get Israeli forces out of Gaza and Israel hasn’t yet committed it was willing to do so,” the official tells Reuters, asking not to be named.

Another Palestinian official tells Reuters the negotiations are “facing challenges because the occupation (Israel) refuses to commit to a comprehensive ceasefire” but adds that the Hamas delegation was still in Cairo in the hope mediators could press Israel to change its position.

Yesterday, an Israeli official — widely reported to be Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — said Israel would “under no circumstances” agree a deal to end the war, which was sparked by the terror group’s devastating October 7 attack. In response to the onslaught, Israel launched the offensive in Gaza with the aims of freeing the hostages abducted by terrorists on that day and dismantling Hamas.

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