Hamas chief in Egypt for talks on Gaza truce and hostage release

The leader of Hamas travelled to Egypt on Wednesday as hopes grew that Israel and the Palestinian militant group may be inching toward another truce and hostage release deal in the Gaza war.

The Qatar-based Hamas chief, Ismail Haniyeh, arrived in Cairo for discussions on the "aggression in the Gaza Strip and other matters", the group said in a statement.

He was due to meet Egypt's spy chief for talks on "stopping the aggression and the war to prepare an agreement for the release of prisoners", a source close to the group told AFP.

Haniyeh — who earlier met Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in Qatar — was heading a "high-level delegation" to Egypt, a frequent mediator between Israel and the Palestinians, the source said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had told hostage families late Tuesday that he had twice sent his spy chief to Europe in efforts intended to "free our hostages".

"It's our duty, I'm responsible for the release of all the hostages," the premier told the relatives of some of the 129 captives still believed to be held in Gaza.

"I have just sent the head of Mossad to Europe twice to promote a process to free our hostages. I will spare no effort on the subject, and our duty is to bring them all back."

U.S. news site Axios reported Monday that Mossad chief David Barnea had met CIA director Bill Burns and Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Europe.

Qatar, backed by Egypt and the United States, helped broker a week-long truce in November in which 80 Israeli hostages were freed in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners.

A source close to Hamas told AFP the Egypt talks would focus on proposals including a week-long truce that would see the...

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