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Ball in Israel's court over Gaza ceasefire, Hamas chief tells Iran FM

The combo photo shows Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (R) and the chief of the political bureau of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has said Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh briefed him on the Palestinian resistance movement's response to a proposed ceasefire for the Gaza Strip. 

In a post on his X account on Monday, Amir-Abdollahian said Haniyeh appreciated strong positions of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, President Ebrahim Raeisi and the Iranian nation in support of Palestine and the Gaza Strip.

The Iranian minister added that Haniyeh also briefed him on the latest developments on the ground in the war-torn Gaza in the phone conversation on Sunday.

He emphasized that Haniyeh said that he had conveyed Hamas' response to a joint Egyptian-Qatari proposed plan on ending the Israeli regime's attacks, exchanging captives and lifting the blockade.

"The ball is now in the opposite side's court. Hamas is honest in its intentions," Amir-Abdollahian quoted Haniyeh as saying.

A short statement from Hamas on Monday said that the movement has agreed to a ceasefire proposal in Gaza, where it has fought a seven-month Israeli aggression that has left tens of thousands dead.

According to the statement, Haniyeh had informed Qatari and Egyptian mediators that it accepted their proposal for a ceasefire in Gaza.

In a statement on Monday, Iran's Foreign Ministry said during the Sunday night talks Haniyeh had briefed Amir-Abdollahian on the political plan aimed at stopping Israel's war in Gaza.

It added that Haniyeh has reiterated that the Hamas stance is to insist on restoring the Palestinian people's right to achieve any political agreement.

The top Iranian diplomat, for his part, hailed the brave resistance of the Palestinian people and resistance groups in the face of the Israeli regime during its war and genocide against Gaza over the past seven months.

Amir-Abdollahian also voiced Iran's support for the proposed plan for the realization of the Palestinian people's rights, including the immediate and permanent cessation of the Israeli regime's crimes, the lifting of the cruel blockade on Gaza, the exchange of captives, the complete and unconditional withdrawal of the occupying Israeli forces from the Strip and the reconstruction of the war-stricken areas.

He also briefed Hamas on Iran's latest diplomatic efforts to support Palestine and the resistance movement in international circles, including the Islamic Republic's active presence in the 15th annual Islamic Summit Conference of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Gambia's capital Banjul.

In the first stage of the truce agreement, the Israeli military will withdraw to areas adjacent to Gaza, he said.

In the second stage, he said, a permanent ceasefire and cessation of hostilities will be declared.

Nearly 35,000 people have been killed in Gaza since Israel launched its aggression on the territory on October 7 last year.

The invasion came hours after Hamas carried out a brief but extensive military operation into the Israeli-occupied territories near Gaza, killing nearly 1,200 Israeli settlers and military forces.

Hamas also took some 250 captives during its anti-Israeli operation in October. Under growing pressure from settler communities living in the occupied Palestine, the Israeli regime has been pushing for the release of the captives as part of a potential ceasefire deal with Hamas.

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