Hamas said on Tuesday it was studying a proposal announced in Paris to end the war in Gaza between the militant group and Israel.
The proposed deal between Israel and Hamas could lead to a pause in fighting and the release of dozens of hostages still being held in Gaza.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh “confirmed that the movement received the proposal that was circulated during the (Paris) meeting and that it (Hamas) is investigating it and giving its response,” said a statement issued by the group. has been published.
But Haniyeh, the group’s top political leader, also said the priority was the “full withdrawal” of Israeli forces from Gaza, something Israel opposes, and that any deal must lead to a long-term ceasefire.
He said Hamas’s leadership had been invited to Cairo to continue talks.
Israel said that ceasefire talks held on Sunday were constructive, but that there remained “significant gaps” in any possible agreement.
Hamas said on Tuesday it was studying a proposal scrapped in Paris to end the war in Gaza between the militant group and Israel.
The prime minister of Qatar – which has served as a key mediator along with Egypt and the United States – was more optimistic, saying US and Middle Eastern mediators had reached a framework proposal.
Speaking at the Atlantic Council in Washington on Monday, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said the mediators had made “good progress”.
In the latest efforts to broker a new ceasefire, CIA chief William Burns met with top Israeli, Egyptian and Qatari officials in Paris on Sunday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office called the talks “constructive” but pointed to “significant gaps that the parties will continue to discuss.”
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken expressed hope for a deal, telling reporters that “a lot of important, productive work has been done.” And there is real hope ahead.’
The confirmation that Hamas is investigating the proposal came after deadly fighting and shelling of Gaza continued on Tuesday.
Heavy Israeli strikes and urban fighting across the besieged Gaza Strip killed 128 people overnight, the Hamas-run health ministry said.
The epicenter of fighting was the southern city of Khan Yunis – the hometown of Hamas’s Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar, the alleged architect of the October 7 attack.
Large areas were reduced to a muddy wasteland of bombed out buildings.
Israel claimed to have largely dismantled Hamas in Gaza.
Planes are said to have destroyed a rocket launcher that fired a barrage of rockets into central Israel on Monday, the first rockets to target the populated area in weeks.
Troops fighting in city blocks and tunnels struck several military sites, Sinwar’s office and “a significant rocket manufacturing facility,” the Israeli military said.
Army spokesman Daniel Hagari claimed that troops in the city had ‘eliminated more than 2,000 terrorists above and below ground’.
Haniyeh’s comments came after Israeli secret troops in the West Bank killed three suspected members of a Hamas ‘terrorist cell’ in a raid on a hospital.
Rockets are fired from the Gaza Strip (background) as a displaced Palestinian walks in the Rafah camp near the Palestinian-Egyptian border on January 29
The agents – some dressed as medical personnel and using a wheelchair and baby carrier as props – shot dead three men at Ibn Sina Hospital in the northern city of Jenin, according to officials and hospital CCTV footage released by the ministry.
The official Palestinian news agency Wafa named the three men as Muhammad Jalamnah, Muhammad Ayman Ghazawi and Basel Ayman Ghazawi.
The Israeli military charged that Jalamnah, allegedly ‘inspired’ by the October 7 attack, ‘planned to carry out a terrorist attack in the immediate future and used the hospital as a hideout and was therefore neutralized’.
The Palestinian health ministry stressed that hospitals enjoy special protection under international law and urged the United Nations to help end Israel’s “daily series of crimes … against our people and health centers.”
The deadliest ever Gaza war was triggered by Hamas’ unprecedented attack on October 7 that resulted in around 1,140 deaths in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of official figures.
Militants also seized 250 hostages, of whom Israel says about 132 are in Gaza, including the bodies of at least 28 dead prisoners.
Israel’s relentless military offensive has killed at least 26,751 people in Gaza, most of them women and children, according to the territory’s Hamas-run health ministry.
Fears have grown that Israel and its ally the United States could face a widening Middle East conflict after months of violence involving Iran-backed groups in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.
Those fears were heightened after Washington vowed to respond to a drone strike on Sunday that killed three US troops at a remote outpost in Jordan near the Syrian and Iraqi borders.
Tehran has denied any involvement in the attack.
Washington said the Jordan attack ‘requires a response’, but White House spokesman John Kirby also underlined that ‘we are not looking for a war with Iran’.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh confirmed ‘the movement has received the proposal circulated during the (Paris) meeting and that it (Hamas) is investigating it’
The Israeli-Lebanese border has seen almost daily exchanges of fire with Iran-backed Hezbollah militants, raising fears of a wider conflict there.
Israel has said it is ready for any attacks but is not seeking a wider war in the north.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said late Monday that some units in Gaza were “moving up to the north and preparing for what’s to come.”
This is a breaking news story. More to follow…