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2024-02-27 14:37:58

US eyes Gaza ceasefire by next week

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US eyes Gaza ceasefire by next week

A new ceasefire between Israel and Hamas could start as soon as Monday, US President Joe Biden said, in a deal that could include the exchange of dozens of hostages held in Gaza for several hundred Palestinian detainees, reports AFP.

In a protracted bid to bring about a truce, Egypt, Qatar, the United States, France and others have acted as go-betweens for Israel and Hamas, with negotiations ongoing.

They are seeking a six-week halt to the fighting and the release of Israeli hostages held in Gaza since Hamas's 7 October attack on southern Israel sparked the war.   

A deal could include the release of several hundred Palestinian detainees held by Israel.

"My hope is by next Monday we'll have a ceasefire," said Biden on Monday, when asked when an agreement could start, adding that "we're close, we're not done yet".

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani -- whose country hosts Hamas leaders and helped broker a one-week truce in November -- is due in Paris this week.

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stressed any truce deal would delay, not prevent, a ground invasion of Rafah in the far south of the Gaza Strip, which he said was necessary to achieve "total victory" over Hamas.

With Israeli ground troops operating in every other major urban area of the Gaza Strip nearly five months into the war, an estimated 1.4 million Palestinian civilians have sought shelter in Rafah.


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