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Egyptian delegation arrives in Israel to advance ceasefire, hostage talks amid war

Amid the impasse over ceasefire talks between Hamas and Israel, an Egyptian delegation has arrived in Israel to advance talks and enforce a ceasefire in Gaza, CNN reported on Saturday, citing Egyptian and Israeli officials.

Another Israeli official said Egyptian representatives were also ready to continue discussions with Israeli officials on security coordination around a possible Israeli operation in Rafah.

Egypt is concerned about the implications of a full-scale Israeli operation in Rafah, close to its border, where about one million displaced Palestinians have taken refuge in recent months.

Despite several months of talks brokered by Qatar and Egypt, Hamas and Israel have failed to reach an agreement over differences on key demands.

A senior US administration official said on Thursday there were “some signs of a path” towards a deal.

The latest outline presented at several rounds of talks in Qatar and Egypt includes a six-week ceasefire and the release of some hostages held by Hamas in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, CNN reports.

A key demand of Hamas is the “unrestricted” return of displaced Palestinians from the south to the north of Gaza.

The US official confirmed that the draft agreement includes that element, but “there are provisions” to ensure the safety of returnees.

“It means shelter, it means help. This means a UN mission to ensure that things are ready,” the official said.

Hamas said on Saturday it had received a response from Israel on its position on ceasefire talks, CNN reported.

“The movement will study this proposal and provide its response upon completion of the study,” it said in a statement.

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