Israel-Hamas closer to new truce deal? Focus of Gaza war shifts to Rafah

Hamas is yet to officially comment on the deal

Israel Hamas new truce deal A tent camp is seen amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip | Reuters

With Israel-Hamas new hostage proposal on works, there is some light at the end of the tunnel for a ceasefire amid intensifying strikes.

Qatar, which has been in the forefront of mediating between Israel and Hamas, indicated that the new deal was received "positively" by Hamas. However, Hamas is yet to officially comment on the deal.

Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official in Beirut, said the group remains committed to its initial demands for a permanent cease-fire.

Hamas officials had said that the group is studying the proposed cease-fire deal that would include prolonged pauses in fighting in Gaza.

The insistence on large-scale prisoner releases and on an end to the fighting in Gaza put the group at odds with the multi-stage proposal that officials from Egypt, Israel, Qatar and the United States put forth this week. However, the proposal does not include a permanent cease-fire.

There is no way that this will be acceptable by the resistance, Hamdan told Lebanon's LBC TV on Friday, referring to proposed successive pauses in fighting.

Though there is no deal yet, Qatar said it is "waiting for its response". A new deal was framed after months of discussions and negotiations.

Taher al-Nono, an adviser to the Qatar-based Hamas politburo chief, Ismail Haniyeh, said: “We cannot say the current stage of negotiation is zero and at the same time we cannot say that we have reached an agreement.”

Reportedly, Haniyeh is expected to travel to Cairo for talks with Eqyptian officials on the ceasefire possibilities.

The new proposal, reportedly, mentions a ceasefire of about six weeks in which Palestinians in Gaza would be allowed to move freely, while hostages would be released in three phases in exchange of Palestinian prisoners being held in Israel.

US officials has expressed optimism over the new proposal and said that the two sides might be edging closer to an agreement.

However, Israeli leaders have said they will keep fighting until Hamas is crushed, even while agreeing to long pauses that are accompanied by the release of hostages.

Meanwhile, with thousands of Gazans fleeing to Rafah border seeking refuge, Israel troops has shifted its focus to Rafah. Over 27,000 Palestinians were killed so far since the October 7 attacks.

An Israeli airstrike on a southern suburb of Damascus early Friday caused material damage. State news agency SANA quoted an army statement as saying that Israeli warplanes fired the missiles while flying over Syria's Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the airstrike killed two Iranian-backed militants in a farm south of Damascus.


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