DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Hamas’ high chief traveled to Cairo on Wednesday for talks on the war in Gaza, a part of a flurry of diplomacy aimed toward securing one other cease-fire and hostage swap at a second when the militant group is placing up stiff resistance to Israel’s offensive.

Ismail Haniyeh’s go to got here a day after Hamas fired rockets that set off air raid sirens in central Israel, a present of energy throughout a 10-week battle that has devastated much of northern Gaza, killed almost 20,000 Palestinians, and pushed some 1.9 million — almost 85% of the inhabitants — from their properties.

Israel has referred to as on the remainder of the world to blacklist Hamas as a terrorist group, saying it should be eradicated within the wake of its Oct. 7 rampage across southern Israel that triggered the battle.

However the sides have lately relaunched oblique talks, mediated by Egypt and Qatar, aimed toward instituting one other cease-fire and releasing extra hostages captured in that assault in trade for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.

Cell phone and web service was down throughout Gaza once more on Wednesday, an outage that would complicate efforts to speak with Hamas’ leaders contained in the territory who went into hiding after Oct. 7.


Regardless of a burst of exercise by high-level officials in latest days, the 2 sides seemed to be removed from an settlement.

Hamas has mentioned no extra hostages can be launched till the battle ends, and is anticipated to insist on the discharge of enormous numbers of Palestinian prisoners, together with high-level militants, for the captives that stay — calls for Israel has so far rejected.

Egypt, together with Qatar, helped mediate a weeklong cease-fire in November through which Hamas freed over 100 hostages in trade for Israel’s launch of 240 Palestinian prisoners. Hamas and different militants are nonetheless holding an estimated 129 captives.

Hamas mentioned in an announcement that Haniyeh would focus on the battle with Egyptian officers, with out offering extra particulars. Egypt, which borders Gaza, is deeply concerned a couple of potential inflow of Palestinian refugees, fearing Israel won’t permit them to return.

Haniyeh is believed to be primarily based in Qatar, although Hamas hardly ever publicizes the whereabouts of its leaders for his or her safety.


Protection Minister Yoav Gallant mentioned Tuesday that Israeli forces have been getting into Hamas’ tunnel community in northern Gaza as a part of a “remaining clearing” of militants from the area. The densely constructed city north — together with Gaza Metropolis, the territory’s largest — has seen ferocious combating, with Palestinian well being officers reporting dozens of individuals killed in bombardment in latest days.

Gallant mentioned that in southern Gaza, operations will take “months,” together with the army’s assault on Khan Younis, the enclave’s second-largest metropolis. “We won’t cease till we attain our targets,” he mentioned.

The Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza mentioned Tuesday the demise toll because the begin of the battle had risen to greater than 19,600. It doesn’t distinguish between civilian and combatant deaths.

At the very least 46 folks have been killed and greater than 100 wounded early Wednesday as Israel continued to bombard the city Jabaliya refugee camp close to Gaza Metropolis, in keeping with Munir al-Bursh, a senior Well being Ministry official.

Hamas and different militants killed some 1,200 folks, largely civilians, within the Oct. 7 assault.

Israel’s army says 134 of its troopers have been killed within the Gaza floor offensive. Israel says it has killed some 7,000 militants, with out offering proof, and blames civilian deaths on Hamas, saying it makes use of them as human shields when it fights in residential areas.


U.N. Safety Council members are negotiating an Arab-sponsored decision to halt the combating indirectly to permit for a rise in desperately wanted humanitarian help deliveries to Gaza. A vote on the decision, first scheduled for Monday, was pushed again once more till Wednesday as talks continued within the hopes of getting the U.S. to abstain or vote “sure” on the decision after it vetoed an earlier cease-fire name.

France, the UK and Germany — a few of Israel’s closest allies — joined global calls for a cease-fire over the weekend. In Israel, protesters have referred to as for negotiations with Hamas to facilitate the discharge of scores of hostages nonetheless held by the group.

Israel says it’s going to hold combating till it has eliminated Hamas from energy, dismantled its armed wing and returned all of the hostages. U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration has referred to as on Israel to take higher steps to spare civilians however has continued to supply diplomatic and military support for the offensive.


Magdy reported from Cairo.


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