Hamas to deliver response on Israeli truce proposal

A Hamas delegation is due to arrive Monday in Egypt, where it will respond to Israel's latest proposal for a long-sought hostage-release deal and truce in the Gaza Strip after almost seven months of war.

Egypt, Qatar and the United States have been trying to mediate an agreement between Israel and Hamas for months, as the death toll in Gaza rises and calls for a deal intensify.

But despite intense pressure to reach a ceasefire, secure the release of hostages held in Gaza and allow more humanitarian aid into the war-battered territory, a deal has remained elusive.

The Palestinian Islamist group said Sunday it had no "major issues" with the content of Israel's most recent offer for a truce.

"The atmosphere is positive unless there are new Israeli obstacles," a senior Hamas official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Humanitarians say the war has brought Gaza to the brink of famine, reduced much of it to rubble and raised fears of broader conflict.

At a market in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where Israeli officials have vowed to rout Hamas fighters, shoppers said prices of fresh vegetables have risen.

Mohammed Sarhan, 48, said 100 shekels ($26) used to buy enough for a week, but now it is "not enough for one meal for my family".

More than one million Palestinians have taken shelter in the city.

Protesters in Israel are demanding that the government secure the freedom of hostages seized by militants during the unprecedented Oct. 7 attack that triggered the war.

Since a one-week halt to the fighting in November saw 80 Israeli hostages exchanged for 240 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, mediators Egypt, Qatar and the United States have been working to secure a new truce.

Continue reading on: