Israel-Hamas war: Ceasefire possibilities imminent as Hamas come down on number of demands

Tel Aviv, Feb 24 (IANS): A Hamas delegation -- which is in Paris for negotiations for a ceasefire deal with Israel -- has come down on many of its demands.

Sources in Israel defence ministry told IANS that while Hamas is insisting for a permanent withdrawal of Israel troops from Gaza Strip, it has come down on many of its demands including release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners from the Israel jails against the release of each Israeli hostage.

Even as the Hamas negotiators are sticking to their demand for a permanent ceasefire, they may agree for a two months ceasefire, which Israel has not agreed to.

Israel Defence Minister Yoav Gallant told media persons that Hamas has come down from their earlier demands due to Israel moving towards a ground offensive in Rafah in Gaza that borders Egypt.

Egypt is wary that if Israel Defense Forces attack Rafah, then there will be a huge spill over of Palestinians into its territory.

Ahmad Kamal, head of Egyptian intelligence who is part of the mediatory talks, has told Arabian media that the talks were progressive and that things were heading in the right direction.

During one week ceasefire from November 24 to December 1, 105 Israel hostages in the custody of Hamas were released in exchange of 324 Palestinian prisoners from Israel jails.

There are 134 Israeli hostages in custody of Hamas -- all of whom are not alive, and according to information, 35 Israeli hostages would be released.

Qatar Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammad Bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief William Burns are part of the negotiations in Paris.

Hamas and Israel are not directly talking to each other but communicating through the mediators on their respective demands.



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Title: Israel-Hamas war: Ceasefire possibilities imminent as Hamas come down on number of demands

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