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Egypt delegation arrives in Gaza for ceasefire negotiations

The leadership of Hamas at a meeting with Egyptian officials in 2018. [Getty]

Date of publication: 9 May, 2019

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A group of Egyptian security officials are in Gaza to discuss how to maintain the ceasefire agreement with Hamas, after a weekend of bloodshed.
A delegation of Egyptian security officials arrived in the Gaza Strip on Thursday afternoon after visiting Tel Aviv. 

The group have come to discuss ways of implementing Monday’s ceasefire agreement following a violent flare-up between Hamas and the Israeli military over the weekend, which killed 27 Palestinians and four Israelis, as well as injuring a further 154 people in the besieged enclave.

The visit comes a day after delegations from Hamas and Islamic Jihad returned to Gaza from Cairo, following a round of talks that began prior to the latest flare-up. The negotiations aimed to discuss delays in Israel's implementation of a previously agreed plan to ease the air, land and sea blockade on the strip.

The Egyptian delegation are scheduled to meet with the leaders of Palestinian factions, notably Hamas, to discuss ways of maintaining the peace in Gaza.

Read more: US coverage of Gaza mistakes perpetrator for victim

Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations have so far succeeded in ensuring a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians.

However, continued calm can only be guaranteed if Israel maintains the agreement to ease the 13-year-long blockade, including allowing the transfer of grants and humanitarian aid.

The situation on the ground in Gaza has not changed since the agreement, as the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing and the fishing area remain closed since the beginning of the bout of conflict.

On return from their visit to Egypt, the office of Hamas's leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, issued a statement saying that Sinwar, along with Ruhi Mushtaha, a member of the group's diplomatic leadership, "held several meetings with the Egyptian intelligence minister General Abbas Kamel, and the leadership of the general intelligence service," adding that the negotiations focused on ending the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people.

The statement also said the delegation expressed Hamas's resistance to US President Donald Trump's so-called "Deal of the Century" for peace in the region.

During the visit, the Hamas delegation also held several meetings with representatives of rival Islamist group Islamic Jihad, headed by its Secretary-General Ziyad al-Nakhaleh.

Their meetings centred on strategies to overcome the US peace plan, as well as ways to restore national unity and find common ground between the two movements.

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