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Israel, Hamas indirect ceasefire talks to resume from today in Doha and Cairo

IANS | March 30, 2024 10:45 AM

TEL AVIV: The indirect ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas are set to resume from Saturday in the Qatar's capital of Doha and the Egyptian capital of Cairo.

Sources in the Israeli Prime Minister's office told IANS that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already agreed to send two separate delegations for resuming mediatory talks.

The Doha delegation will be headed by Mossad Chief David Barnea while the team to Cairo will be led by the head of Shin Bet, Ronen Bar.

The Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu, according to sources in his office, have agreed for sending these delegations following pressure from the families of hostages and missing persons.

The Israeli side has pulled out of a negotiation deal last week after it denied many demands put forward by the mediators on behalf of Hamas. This include a permanent ceasefire and releasing of several Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.

Top sources in Israel Defence Ministry told IANS that Israel would never agree for a permanent ceasefire and also have reservations in releasing many Palestinian prisoners whose names were put forward by Hamas indirectly through the mediators.

The contention of Israel, according to these sources, is that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has made significant strides in the war and that it was only a matter of time to eliminate Hamas militarily.

The IDF and military intelligence have already briefed Israel's War Cabinet on the progress of war and the huge advantage Israeli side was having.

During the last week negotiations at Doha, Israel agreed for the release of 700 Palestinian prisoners in exchange of 40 Israeli hostages that include women, elderly and ill-people. However, it had pulled out of the negotiations following Hamas's demands for a permanent ceasefire.

It may be noted that since Hamas conducted a surprise attack on October 7, 2023, in southern Israel slaughtering 1, 200 people and kidnapping around 250 people, Israel is engaged in war against the militant outfit.

More than 32, 000 Palestinian people, including women and children were killed, and around 260 IDF soldiers lost their lives in the war that commenced on October 7 last year.

The IDF had started ground invasion into Gaza on October 27 last year and caused heavy casualties to Hamas's military strength.

According to sources in Israel Defence Ministry, Hamas is almost destroyed militarily with resistance coming through guerilla attacks.

The IDF has also briefed the War Cabinet that in Rafah area where Israel is planning a massive attack and if the talks fail, there are only four battalions of Hamas left.

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