Egyptian delegation arrives in Gaza for truce talks

Egyptian delegation has been holding shuttle diplomacy between Gaza, West Bank and Israel

Egyptian delegation arrives in Gaza for truce talks

By Nour Abu Aisha and Hani al-Shaer

GAZA CITY, Palestine

A delegation from Egypt’s intelligence service arrived in the Gaza Strip on Monday to continue talks with Palestinian group Hamas on inter-Palestinian reconciliation and truce with Israel.

The delegation crossed into Gaza via the Erez crossing, a Palestinian security source told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to media.

The Egyptian delegation has been holding a shuttle diplomacy between the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Israel for weeks, during which they are meeting with officials of Hamas, rival group Fatah and the Israeli government.

The talks are taking part with a view to reaching a truce between Hamas and Israel and achieving Palestinian reconciliation between the Palestinian rivals.

Monday’s visit is the sixth by the Egyptian delegation to Gaza within three weeks.

An informed Palestinian source earlier told Anadolu Agency that Egypt’s intelligence agency had made “significant progress” in truce negotiations.

According to leaked information, the proposed agreement calls for easing Israel’s 12-year blockade of the Gaza Strip in exchange for a halt to the ongoing protests along the buffer zone.

Since March 30, Gaza-based political factions — especially Hamas and Islamic Jihad — have organized almost daily demonstrations along the buffer zone.

Protesters demand the right to return to their homes and villages in historical Palestine, from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.

They also demand an end to Israel’s 12-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its two million inhabitants of many basic commodities, including food, fuel and medicine.

Since the rallies began some seven months ago, more than 200 Palestinians have been martyred — and thousands more injured — by Israeli troops deployed along the other side of the buffer zone.

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