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Hamas leader Haniyeh visits Egypt to discuss new Gaza truce

Top Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (Photo by Reuters)

The head of Hamas' political bureau has traveled to Egypt to discuss a potential new Gaza truce involving an exchange of prisoners and the entry of more aid to Gaza.

The Qatar-based Ismail Haniyeh was expected to hold talks with Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel.

Haniyeh, before leaving Qatar, met Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad also said on Wednesday a delegation of the movement headed by Secretary General Ziad Nakhaleh will visit Egypt in the coming days to “discuss ways to stop the aggression and a prisoner exchange deal.”

The statement added that a potential exchange of captives will take place based on the principle of "everyone for everyone" within a political process agreed upon by the forces representing the Palestinian people, led by Hamas.

Western media reports have described the negotiations as intensive and suggested a breakthrough could be possible within days.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu late Tuesday told relatives of some of the remaining 129 captives held in Gaza since the October 7 attacks that the head of Mossad was working on efforts to free the Israeli captives.

Mossad director David Barnea held a "positive meeting" in Warsaw this week with CIA chief Bill Burns and Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, AFP reported, citing an unnamed source.

The source said the talks were ongoing to reach an agreement around the release of the remaining captives in Gaza in exchange for a truce and the potential release of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

The regime’s president also said on Tuesday they were ready for another pause and to allow additional aid into Gaza to enable the release of captives.

Qatar last month helped broker a week-long truce in which 80 Israeli captives were freed in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners.

But that truce fell apart, with Hamas blaming Netanyahu for that. The movement says it's ready to release Israeli military captives held in Gaza in return for the release of all Palestinians held in Israeli jails.

Hamas deputy politburo chief Saleh al-Arouri told Press TV in a recent interview that Netanyahu earlier rejected the movement’s offers and vowed to get the captives released militarily.

“Their prime minister was lying to his society… He was talking about the military operation to free his prisoners. This is impossible to achieve. He failed in it for about 70 days and through the ground incursion into Gaza, the Israelis succeeded in getting three corpses only. So, the idea of freeing their soldiers alive is totally impossible,” Arouri told Press TV. 

The bloodiest-ever war on Gaza has so far killed nearly 20,000 people, mostly women and children, with thousands more believed lost and buried under rubble. The regime has also cut off most water, food and power supplies into Gaza.

The UN estimates that 1.9 million of Gaza's 2.4 million residents have been forced to flee their homes, many sheltering in tents amid dire shortages and the biting winter cold.

"Amid displacement at an unimaginable scale and active hostilities, the humanitarian response system is on the brink," said Tor Wennesland, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process.

The UN Security Council was set to vote later on Wednesday on a resolution calling for a pause in the conflict, diplomatic sources told AFP, after two previous votes were delayed.

The latest version of the text calls for the "suspension" of hostilities, the sources said.

The US vetoed a previous ceasefire resolution, sparking widespread condemnation.

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