Media: Israeli delegation departs Cairo after truce talks

Media: Israeli delegation departs Cairo after truce talks
Media: Israeli delegation departs Cairo after truce talks

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - A handout picture released by the Egyptian Presidency shows Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (right) meeting with CIA director William Burns (centre-left) at Ittihadiya Palace in Cairo, on February 13, 2024. — AFP pic

CAIRO, Feb 14 — An Israeli delegation left talks in Cairo to pause the Israel-Hamas yesterday, Israeli and US media reported.

Israeli intelligence chief David Barnea met CIA Director William Burns in the Egyptian capital for talks on a Qatari-brokered plan to temporarily halt fighting in Gaza.

The negotiations, which also involved Qatar’s prime minister and Egyptian officials, were part of an intensifying effort to secure a ceasefire before Israel proceeds with a full-scale ground incursion into the southern city of Rafah, where more than half of the territory’s population has fled.

Foreign governments and the United Nations have voiced increasingly frantic alarm about the possible civilian toll of such an assault, while Israel has vowed to press ahead with its campaign until it successfully eradicates Hamas from all of Gaza, including Rafah.

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The Times of Israel reported citing an official in the Israeli prime minister’s office that Israel’s delegation had left Cairo on Tuesday night.

The Wall Street Journal reported citing officials familiar with the talks that Barnea’s delegation had departed the Egyptian capital “without closing any of the major gaps in the negotiations”.

Egyptian state-owned television channel Al Qahera reported citing a senior Egyptian official that the talks would continue for another three days.

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The same official said the talks had been mostly “positive”, the television channel reported.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby called the negotiations “constructive and moving in the right direction”.

“Nothing is done until it is all done,” he told reporters at the White House.

Ahead of the efforts to hammer out a truce, the Israeli campaign group Hostages and Missing Families Forum sent the Mossad chief a plea saying the delegation must “not return without a deal”.

Around half of the estimated 250 hostages taken by Hamas during the October 7 attacks are still believed to be in Gaza. Israel says 29 of them are presumed dead.

The Hamas attack that launched the war resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

At least 28,473 people, mostly women and children, have been killed in Israel’s relentless bombardment and ground offensive in Hamas-run Gaza since then, according to the health ministry in the Palestinian territory. — AFP

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