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Israel and Hamas to resume talks after weeks of fighting

Israel and Hamas to resume talks after weeks of fighting

Israel and Hamas to resume talks after weeks of fighting

Israel will send a delegation to resume negotiations on Friday after weeks of deadlock over a ceasefire deal in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office confirmed, while a senior US administration official hailed “a breakthrough in a critical impasse.”

The development came amid growing fears that the already simmering front between Israel and Iran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon could soon erupt.

The U.S. official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said Thursday that Hamas had made “a fairly significant adjustment” to its position on a potential ceasefire deal with Israel and that Israeli negotiators could arrive in Doha as early as Friday.

The official added that “a framework already exists,” but warned that “it is not an agreement that will be finalized in a matter of days. There is still work to be done.”

Netanyahu told President Biden in a phone call Thursday that he had authorized the delegation’s return to hostage negotiations, his office said. saying.

Biden welcomed the Israeli decision, according to a White House statement, which said the two leaders also discussed “the recent response received from Hamas,” without providing further details.

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Hasan Nasrallah, head of the Iranian-backed Lebanese militia and Hezbollah political party, met with Hezbollah leaders to discuss the situation in Gaza and the latest developments in negotiations and the ceasefire proposal, the movement’s Al-Manar media reported on Friday.

The day before, Hezbollah had fired some 200 rockets into northern Israel in retaliation for Israel’s killing of one of the militant group’s top commanders. It was the largest attack since October 7, in an ever-escalating exchange of fire between the two sides.

Biden announced the three-phased ceasefire proposal in May, describing it as “a truly defining moment,” and urged both sides to approve the deal. The United Nations Security Council also gave its backing to the proposal.

But in the weeks that followed, the deal appeared to falter.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in mid-June that the proposal was “virtually identical” to one Hamas submitted on May 6, but said Hamas was now asking for a number of changes.

The plan, which consists of three phases, includes an initial six-week phase with a ceasefire and increased humanitarian aid. Israeli forces would withdraw from all populated areas and women, the elderly and wounded hostages held in Gaza would be exchanged for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel. All remaining American hostages would also be released.

If no violations occur, the six-week ceasefire will continue until an agreement is reached on a “permanent” truce, which would include a full Israeli withdrawal and the release of the remaining hostages.

Meanwhile, Israeli strikes have continued in the enclave, including on a house in the central Nuseirat refugee camp and a UN school in the northern Jabalya refugee camp, according to local reports.

The Israel Defense Forces said it “struck more than 50 terror targets” in the Strip over the past day and is continuing its “operational activity” around the southern city of Rafah, Shejaiya in the north and refugee camps in the center.

At least seven Palestinians have been killed in an Israeli attack in the West Bank city of Jenin. According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, the Israeli military said on social media on Friday that its forces surrounded a house in Jenin and exchanged fire with militants, while an Israeli aircraft targeted “several” armed individuals in the area. The Israel Defense Forces later said the military was carrying out an “anti-terror activity” after the death of an Israeli soldier during an operation in Jenin last week. The United Nations humanitarian agency said earlier this week that at least 77 Palestinians, including 14 children, have been killed in airstrikes in the West Bank since Oct. 7.

In a letter to the prime minister, Israel’s attorney general accused National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir of blocking the transfer of Gazans still held at Israel’s notorious Sde Teiman detention center.Last month, the Israel Defense Forces said it would hand over the detainees to Israeli prison authorities in response to a Supreme Court hearing on a petition filed by human rights groups saying alleged abuse and torture at the southern detention site could amount to war crimes.

Looters ransacked the European Hospital in Khan Younis days after Israel issued evacuation orders for the area and patients and medical staff fled. According to Saleh al-Hams, head of the hospital’s nursing department, Hams said by phone that around 1,000 solar panels were taken from the roof, 400 hospital beds, furniture from the hospital’s nursing school and toilets. “It is known who the looters responsible for the theft were, but there is no police force available to recover the stolen items, which are now being sold in the market,” he said. The IDF issued the evacuation order for the area on July 1, but later clarified that it did not include the medical center, one of Gaza’s last partially operational hospitals.

The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned that further disruption to health services in Gaza is “imminent” due to “a severe shortage” of fuel. Only 90,000 liters of fuel entered Gaza on Wednesday, wrote in X On Thursday, while the health sector alone needs 80,000 litres a day, Tedros added that the situation was forcing the United Nations and its partners operating in Gaza to “make impossible decisions”.

Britain woke up to a new prime minister on Friday, but the country’s foreign policy is unlikely to change under the leadership of the centre-left Social Democratic Labour Party. The Washington Post reports that party leader Keir Starmer has said Britain will support Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas, while calling for a ceasefire.

At least 38,011 people have been killed and 87,445 injured in Gaza since the war began. According to the Gaza Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants but says most of the dead are women and children, Israel estimates that some 1,200 people were killed in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, including more than 300 soldiers, and says 323 soldiers have been killed since the start of its military operations in Gaza.