Israel-Hamas war: Egyptian officials in Tel Aviv to iron out ceasefire bottlenecks

Tel Aviv, Feb 10 (IANS) As the ongoing war between Hamas and Israel continuing with several human casualties, top Egyptian officials have reached Tel Aviv to accelerate ceasefire talks and possible hostage release deal.

Sources in Israel defense ministry confirmed that a high-level Egyptian delegation has arrived in Israel and entered into talks with Mossad chief David Burnea.

After a week-long ceasefire from November 24 to December 1, in which 105 Israeli hostages held in Gaza were released, the next round of discussions for the release of more hostages are struck with both sides not agreeing to the proposals put forward.

According to Israel intelligence officers, the Hamas is insisting on the release of a large number of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails for the release of 35 hostages in its custody.

Israel, according to sources, is willing to release a decent number of Palestinian prisoners for the first round of 35 hostages to be released from Hamas captivity.

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However, Israel has flatly rejected the demand for the withdrawal of its troops from Gaza and have told negotiators that such a deal will never happen.

Another major reason for the arrival of the Egyptian delegation is to ask the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to not expand operations into the Rafah region which shares borders with Egypt.

Rafah is the international border connecting Egypt and Israel and through which international aid trucks including those carrying food, oil and medicine are reaching the Gaza Strip.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant have announced that Israel troops would be marching towards Rafah where a large number of Hamas are reportedly hiding.

After listening to the view points of Israel, the Egyptian delegation will reach Doha and convey the message on the hostage deal to Qatari officials who will inform Hamas.

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief William Burns, according to sources, is overseeing the peace talks involving the US, Qatar, Egypt, Israel and Hamas to bring about a possible solution to the ceasefire bottlenecks and ensure speedy release of hostages.

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