Senior official: Israel has not agreed to end war, withdraw from Gaza; Katz: We’ll delay Rafah op if there’s a deal

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

After Channel 12 reported that the terms Israel agreed to — and which are being conveyed to Hamas — would include a second stage that would examine an end to the war in exchange for the release of additional hostages beyond the initial 33,  a senior Israeli official says that “Israel did not agree to an end of the war, to a withdrawal from the Strip, or other demands that Hamas presented.”

“Israel did not accept the Egyptian demands, and presented its own conditions for a deal,” says the official, without expanding on those terms.

The Egyptian delegation is still in Israel, according to Kan news, and is holding intensive conversations with senior Israeli defense officials.

Hamas is expected to provide the number of living hostages it is willing to release, according to the outlet, as Israel awaits a broader answer on the terror organization’s response to the latest Israeli offer.

As intensive Egypt-mediated talks over a potential deal continue, Foreign Minister Israel Katz tells Channel 12 news that if a deal is reached, “We will delay an operation in Rafah.”

Israel has reportedly indicated that it will move ahead with an invasion of the last Hamas stronghold in Gaza if the organization delays its response or rejects the latest offer.

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