In Jerusalem, Israeli officials informed AFP that the head of Mossad, David Barnea, is enroot to Cairo for talks with counterparts from Egypt and the United States regarding a proposal for a truce in Gaza. The officials, speaking anonymously due to the sensitivity of the matter, stated that Barnea will meet with CIA Director William Burns in the Egyptian capital. Additionally, Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, who has previously facilitated ceasefire negotiations in Gaza, is also participating in the discussions.
Reports from Washington sources familiar with the situation indicate that Burns is expected to engage in talks regarding a ceasefire proposal brokered by Qatar, following Israel’s rejection of an initial response from Hamas, the ruling party in Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asserted Israel’s commitment to dismantling Hamas, including through military action in Gaza’s southern city of Rafah, where a significant civilian population resides.
The United States has emphasized the need for a comprehensive plan to ensure civilian safety in Rafah, with State Department spokesman Matthew Miller stating that the U.S. does not endorse a large-scale military operation without such assurances.
This development comes after Israeli forces conducted a mission in Gaza, accompanied by airstrikes, resulting in the rescue of two hostages and the deaths of around 100 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s health ministry, which is controlled by Hamas. Hamas alleges that multiple hostages have been killed in recent Israeli airstrikes, although this claim could not be independently verified by AFP.
The conflict between Israel and Hamas escalated following an attack by Hamas on southern Israel on October 7, which led to the deaths of approximately 1,160 people in Israel, mostly civilians. Israeli bombardment and ground operations in Gaza have resulted in the deaths of at least 28,340 people, predominantly women and children, according to Gaza’s health ministry.