Report claims Egypt in contact with Israel, Hamas to restart hostage talks

Arabic newspaper al-Araby al-Jadeed reports that Egyptian mediators are testing the waters to see if they can restart indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas on reaching a hostage deal.

The report in the London-based pro-Qatari daily cites an Egyptian source close to Cairo saying that contacts are being made with “all active parties.”

The report comes hours after Israel’s war cabinet okayed negotiators to continue talks aimed at reaching a deal, despite a lack of progress in recent weeks and friction between Israel and Egypt.

According to the Egyptian source, an Israeli working delegation has visited Cairo on a weekly basis to discuss security coordination and attempt to get past an impasse over Israel’s control of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt, which has led to increasingly vocal mutual recriminations.

The source said discussions had lately also centered around the role of Egyptian mediation.

Egypt threatened to pull out of its mediator role in a statement on Wednesday, alluding to anger over claims by the US and Israel that Cairo had secretly changed the terms of a potential deal Jerusalem had agreed to, scuttling the chances for a deal.

The source claims to al-Jadeed al-Araby that leaks to the media regarding Egypt’s reported subterfuge aided attempts by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to “evade responsibility” for the fact that the sides have been unable to reach an agreement.

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