Talks on a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas appear to be on their way after killings at Gaza aid site, officials said.

Mahmoud Issa / AFP

Palestinians walk amid the devastation caused by the Israeli attack on the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, February 29, 2024.



CNN

It appears that the ongoing talks to reach a ceasefire agreement to stop the fighting between Hamas and Israel in Gaza by Ramadan are still on track, even after Ramadan has passed. More than 100 Palestinians They were killed on Thursday while trying to access food in Gaza City, according to officials familiar with the discussions.

US officials said on Friday that there were no indications that the discussions had gone significantly off track, but much hinges on Hamas's expected reaction to what was discussed in Paris and Doha last week among the other countries involved: Qatar, Egypt, Israel and Israel. we. A Hamas official warned on Thursday that the negotiations could be affected.

CNN contacted several Hamas officials about the potential deal but did not receive any response.

In the wake of the killing of dozens of Palestinian civilians in Gaza on Thursday, US officials said the chaotic scenes had injected more urgency into the hostage talks and ceasefire.

On Friday afternoon, President Joe Biden called for an “immediate ceasefire.”

Biden said during a meeting: “We are trying to reach an agreement between Israel and Hamas regarding the return of the hostages, an immediate ceasefire in Gaza for at least the next six weeks, and allowing increased aid to the Gaza Strip.” With Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

A senior administration official said earlier on Friday that the United States was still racing against time to try to reach an agreement at the finish line by Ramadan – which is now about a week away – by which time Israel has warned its forces that it will expand its military operations in Rafah in Gaza strip. Absence of a deal.

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Biden had said earlier in the week that he hoped there would be a ceasefire in Gaza by Monday, but he offered a mixed assessment of that possibility later Friday, saying: “It looks like we're still — we're not there yet.” “I think we will get there, but it is not there yet. It may not get there now. “In response to a question about whether it was possible to never reach a ceasefire agreement, he told reporters that he “still hopes for that.” “It's not over until it's over.”

The president said on Thursday that deaths at the aid site could make ceasefire talks more difficult.

Asked if he was concerned that the deaths would complicate negotiations, Biden replied: “Oh, I know it will.”

On Thursday, Biden spoke with the leaders of Qatar and Egypt – two countries that play central mediating roles in the negotiations.

Officials familiar with the talks say technical teams are working on key components of a potential agreement this week in Doha. Qatar spokesman Majid Al-Ansari said on Tuesday that disagreements still exist regarding “numbers and percentages.” [IDF] Troop movements.”

It is believed that Hamas will demand the release of a higher percentage of Palestinian prisoners by Israel if Hamas releases an Israeli soldier hostage, as Israel demands.

CNN foreign affairs analyst Barak Ravid Reported for Axios On Friday, as part of Hamas' response, Israel expects a list of names of hostages still alive and more details on how many Palestinian prisoners it wants to release, before attending further talks.

He added: “We hope that the points of difference between the two sides will be bridged and that we can at least reach a temporary cessation of hostilities that leads to a permanent agreement.” [ceasefire]Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Friday, warning that failure to reach an agreement between Israel and Hamas before the month of Ramadan will arouse discontent in the Arab and Islamic world.

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“Everyone has realized the importance of our success in this before the beginning of Ramadan,” he said at the Antalya Diplomatic Forum in Turkey.

He added: “If this conflict continues during the month of Ramadan, I think it will have very serious consequences as emotions will flare even more.”

Participants in the discussions said the agreement would likely be implemented in multiple stages, and once an initial agreement is reached, it could lead to a truce lasting up to six weeks with the release of a group of Israeli hostages – including women, children and prisoners. elderly and sick hostages – in exchange for fewer Palestinian prisoners than Hamas initially demanded.

During the truce, negotiations will take place on more sensitive topics such as the release of Israeli soldiers held hostage, Palestinian prisoners serving longer sentences, the withdrawal of IDF forces and a permanent end to the war alongside the so-called “day after.” problems.

This story was updated with additional details on Friday.

CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

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