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Dhaka Tribune

Hamas delegation leaves Cairo, no sign of progress in ceasefire talks

  • Talks continue until an agreement is reached, Hamas says
  • Hamas official says Israel 'thwarting' ceasefire talks
  • Israel says Hamas position on hostage list is a stumbling block
Update : 07 Mar 2024, 10:43 PM

Hamas said its delegation had left Cairo on Thursday amid ongoing negotiations on a ceasefire accord in Gaza that mediators hope to achieve before the start of Ramadan early next week.

After four days of talks mediated by Qatar and Egypt to secure a 40-day ceasefire ahead of the Muslim fasting month there is still no sign of progress on key sticking points, with both sides blaming the other.

"Hamas's delegation left Cairo this morning for consultation with the leadership of the movement, with negotiations and efforts continuing to stop the aggression, return the displaced and bring in relief aid to our people," a Hamas statement said.

Senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said Israel had been "thwarting" efforts to conclude a ceasefire deal.

Abu Zuhri told Reuters that Israel was rejecting Hamas's demands to end its offensive in the enclave, withdraw its forces, and ensure freedom of entry for aid and the return of displaced people.

Health officials in Gaza said the number of people confirmed killed in Israel's offensive had now passed 30,800. It reported 83 deaths in the past 24 hours and witnesses said the Israeli bombardments continued in Khan Younis, the southern city of Rafah, and areas in central Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his intention on Thursday of pressing on with the military campaign in Gaza.

Israel has previously said its aim is to destroy Hamas and that any ceasefire must be temporary. It has also pressed for a list of hostages still alive and held by Hamas in Gaza.

"Needless to say, Israel will do whatever it takes to release our hostages. We've made very, very clear and this has been reiterated by the US that, unfortunately, it is Hamas who is the stumbling block right now by not telling us who is alive and who they have in their custody," Israeli government spokesman David Mencer said on Thursday. US President Joe Biden said earlier this week that a deal for a ceasefire was in the hands of Hamas.

The deal presented to Hamas for Gaza would free some of the hostages it still holds following the October 7 resistance campaign.

Hamas officials have said a ceasefire must be in place before the hostages are freed, Israeli forces must leave Gaza and all Gazans must be able to return to homes they have fled.

Hamas has said it can't provide a list of the hostages who are still alive without a ceasefire as the hostages are scattered across the war zone.

News that the Hamas delegation had left Cairo without an accord was met with despair in Gaza, which is in the grip of a deep humanitarian crisis after five months of war.

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