Gaza truce talks enter fourth day after US urges speedy deal

International mediators were set for a fourth day of talks with Hamas in Cairo on Wednesday after U.S. President Joe Biden called on the militant group to agree a truce deal with Israel by the start of Ramadan.

Envoys have discussed plans to halt the fighting that has raged since Hamas's Oct. 7 attack before the Muslim fasting month starts on Sunday or Monday, depending on the sighting of the full moon.

As famine threatens the besieged Gaza Strip, U.S. and Jordanian planes again airdropped food aid into the territory of 2.4 million people in a joint operation with Egypt and France on Tuesday.

The World Health Organization has reported children dying of starvation in two northern Gaza hospitals, and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris has expressed "deep concern about the humanitarian conditions in Gaza".

Envoys from Hamas and the United States have been meeting Qatari and Egyptian mediators in Cairo to discuss a plan for a six-week truce, the exchange of dozens of remaining hostages for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, and a greater flow of aid to Gaza.

Egypt's Al-Qahera News, which is close to the country's intelligence services, said the talks would continue Wednesday.

Biden warned Hamas to quickly agree to a truce and hostage release deal after his top diplomat Antony Blinken urged the group to accept an "immediate ceasefire".

"It's in the hands of Hamas right now," the U.S. president told reporters from Maryland.

"There's got to be a ceasefire because Ramadan — if we get into circumstances where this continues to Ramadan, Israel and Jerusalem could be very, very dangerous."

He did not elaborate but the United States urged Israel last week to allow Muslims to pray at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque...

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