Saturday, May 25, 2024

Hamas says accepted Qatari-Egyptian proposal for Gaza ceasefire

Hamas has accepted a proposal for a ceasefire in the Gaza war put forward by mediators Qatar and Egypt, the Palestinian group announced Monday, although Israel has yet to comment on the proposal.

“Ismail Haniyeh, head of the political bureau of Hamas movement, conducted a telephone call with the prime minister of Qatar, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, and with the Egyptian intelligence minister, Mr Abbas Kamel, and informed them of Hamas’s approval of their proposal regarding a ceasefire agreement,” the group said in a statement published on its official website.

The statement was released after people started to flee the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip after Israel ordered tens of thousands of people to evacuate as fears grew of a full-blown military assault there. More than 1.4 million displaced Palestinians have sought shelter in the area.

After the Hamas announcement, crowds of people gathered to cheer and celebrate in Rafah.

Israel and Hamas have been engaged in indirect talks mediated by Qatar and Egypt over a potential ceasefire in the Gaza war and an exchange of Israeli captives for Palestinian prisoners.

Egyptian and Hamas officials have previously said a potential ceasefire would take place in several stages in which Hamas would release Israeli captives it is holding in exchange for Israeli troop pullbacks from Gaza.

It had not been clear whether the deal would meet Hamas’s key demands of a permanent ceasefire, a complete Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and the return of displaced families to their homes.

Earlier, Hamas had warned Israel that any ground military operation in Rafah would have serious consequences for the regime as the Palestinian resistance movement is fully prepared to defend its people in the southern Gaza city.

The Palestinian movement also called on the international community to take urgent action to stop the regime’s planned offensive on Rafah.

Hamas cautioned that any incursion into Rafah threatens the lives of hundreds of thousands of defenseless civilians, including children, women and the elderly.

“The actions taken by the terrorist occupation army in preparation for an attack on the densely populated city of Rafah … have resulted in massacres of innocent civilians.”

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