Israeli delegation set to visit Egypt next week: source
An Israeli delegation is set to visit Cairo next week to outline Prime Minister Neftali Bennett's position on Gaza issues, including a potential prisoner swap deal with Hamas, Egyptian sources have told The New Arab’s Arabic-language site.
The Tel Aviv officials will relay Bennet's stance on the possible deal, as well as issues relating to Egypt's role in reconstruction in the besieged territory, devastated following the recent Gaza war. The officials will also discuss de-escalation in the region.
News of the visit follows a trip last week by an Israeli delegation led by Nimrod Shafir, the deputy head of the country's National Security Council, which had a similar focus.
Shafir met Abbas Kamel, the chief of Egypt's spy agency who had met with Hamas officials in Gaza following the 11-day brutal bombardment.
According to the Egyptian sources who spoke to The New Arab, the current delegation informed the Egyptians that they will carry with them unspecified "new developments" during their trip, which they hope will be passed on to Hamas and other armed groups in Gaza.
The sources alleged that Hamas had in negotiations disclosed to Egyptian officials that it may be holding more than four Israeli soldiers captive. No information was revealed about their identities however, with Hamas deeming the surrender of such information as conditional on whether the "price" is right.
Hamas is reportedly seeking the release of top Palestinian leaders held by Israel, including Marwan Al Barghouti and Ahmad Sadaat.
Hamas holds two Israeli soldiers captive, both of whom were taken by the militants after the Israeli war on Gaza in 2014. The group also holds two Israeli civilians who entered Gaza in unclear circumstances.